Charge becomes murder after gunshot victim dies

Durham man accused of killing half-brother

Staff WriterJune 29, 2009 

— Police plan to levy a murder charge against a man accused of shooting his half-brother with a shotgun after the victim died Sunday from his wounds.

Lewis Junior Scarlette, 56, of 18 Zelko Court in Durham was already being held in the Durham County jail in lieu of $500,000 bail after his arrest Saturday in connection with the shooting of his half-brother, Joseph Best, 41.

Police arrested Scarlette at the Zelko Court home, which the two men shared, after they found Best wounded from a shotgun blast on the steps of the residence.

According to arrest warrants, Scarlette used a single-barrel shotgun. Police said the shooting was the result of an "altercation" Saturday between the two.

Best was taken to Duke Hospital, where he died Sunday from gunshot-related injuries, police said. Scarlette was already facing charges of assault with a deadly weapon with intent to kill, inflicting serious injury. He will now face a murder charge, police said.

Scarlette is scheduled for a court appearance at 9 a.m. today.

sadia.latifi@newsobserver.com or 919-932-2002

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