RALEIGH — On the day that Regynald Reggie Jose Browns family laid him to rest, Wake County District Attorney Colon Willoughby said the four teens charged with his death might be tried as adults.
We may seek to transfer [the case to adult court], Willoughby said Monday afternoon. Right now its still an ongoing investigation. Right now were gathering facts. It depends on the evidence and the individuals (criminal histories).
Brown, 37, was found dead Dec. 8 in South Raleigh, stuffed head-first in a trash receptacle.
It is believed the fatal injuries he suffered were the result of a beating, Raleigh police spokesman Jim Sughrue said Monday.
Five teenage boys are charged in connection with Browns death. Four a 13-year-old and three 15-year-olds are charged with murder. The fifth juvenile is charged with providing assistance after the murder.
Police have not released a motive for the slaying, or what evidence lead them to the teens.
All from Raleigh and were arrested at or near their homes, Sughrue said. He did say the crime does not appear to be gang-related.
Because they are currently charged as juveniles, their names are not public record.
Willoughby said the teens will go through a two-step judicial process that will ultimately determine if their cases are transferred to adult court. The first is a probable cause hearing scheduled for Feb. 28.
If the judge finds that there is enough probable cause to warrant a charge of first-degree murder, then they will automatically be tried as adults, he said. If its a lesser charge, then its up to the judge to determine whether they meet the criteria and whether they should be transferred or not.
Charge is the difference
Defendants charged in most crimes in North Carolina are typically not tried in the adult court system until they are at least 16. But under state law, the cases in which a juvenile, 13 years or older, is charged with first-degree murder must be reviewed by a judge to determine if they should be tried in adult court.
On Dec. 10, a Wake County grand jury handed down indictments charging two teenage brothers as adults in the Aug. 15 shooting death of Fernando Garibay-Benitez near a North Raleigh apartment complex.
Police have accused Brayan Hernandez-Sierra, 13, and his brother, Ceferino Hernandez-Sierra, 15, of fatally shooting Garibay-Benitez, a high school sophomore, near the Lexington on the Green apartments on Rolling Green Court.
Friends recall Brown
Brown was last seen Nov. 4 at a friends home near Carolina Pines Drive. The friend, Marloe Gholson, and Jacqueline Denise Adams, the mother of Browns youngest daughter, filed a missing person report with police on Nov. 20.
Adams, Gholson and another friend found Browns body stuffed head-first into a trash can that had toppled over, nearly buried in sand, alongside a bicycle trail in the woods of a Capital Area greenway near Hammond Road.
Friends who heard about his death, described Brown as good friend and good man who played sports and participated in marching band at Person Senior High School, where he graduated in 1993. He attended North Carolina Agricultural and Technical University in Greensboro for one year after high school graduation.
Brown made his way to Raleigh, where he worked as a licensed electrician until jobs became scarce during the economic downturn. Although he was homeless when he was killed, he was preparing to take the electricians exam to become recertified and was hoping to jump-start his construction business that had faltered, Adams said.
He made his home in a camp not very far from where his body was found. He tried to stay active and in touch the community and childhood friends, despite being homeless and oftentimes lived with friends or in short stints at rooming houses. He had a Facebook page with 104 friends.
He relied on his faith, Adams said. Among his things at the homeless camp was a copy of the Bible and a book titled Bible Promises in Tough Times.
Brown is survived by three daughters: Dyniesha, 15, Tateyena, 13, and Regyna, 5. A memorial service for Brown was held at the Cunningham and Nelson Funeral Home in Roxboro.
It was a nice service, Adams said late Monday afternoon.