Fuquay-Varina man charged with murder may claim self-defense

rgallagher@newsobserver.com tmcdonald@newsobserver.comMay 1, 2013 

Richard Brandon Gregory


— The Fuquay-Varina man accused of shooting and killing his stepfather during an argument Tuesday afternoon will try to convince a judge and jury that it was an act of self-defense because he thought his life was in danger, his attorney indicated Wednesday.

Police have charged Richard Brandon Gregory, 28, with murder in the death of James Melvin Jolly, 64. The shooting took place at a home the two men shared at 108 Coley Farm Road.

Gregory’s attorney, Michelle Sparrow, appeared with him in court Wednesday afternoon. Sparrow asked Wake District Court Judge Vince Rozier why Gregory was not charged with second-degree murder. The charge of first-degree murder, which Gregory faces, assumes malice and premeditation.

“It was my understanding after talking with the detective and magistrate that it would be a charge of second-degree murder,” Sparrow said, noting that Gregory’s arrest warrant simply said “murder.” The charge of second-degree murder would allow Gregory to be released by posting bail.

But Wake prosecutor Patrick LaTour said he was not aware of any conversation about second-degree murder between the detective who arrested Gregory and the magistrate who signed the arrest warrant. LaTour asked that Gregory be held without benefit of posting bail, and the judge agreed.

Afterward, Sparrow noted that Gregory’s family, “including his mother, who was married to the man who was shot,” were in court to support him. Sparrow also said the shooting appeared to be an act of self-defense.

“I think it’s too early to tell right now, but he felt like he was in danger, according to what I’ve heard and have been seeing,” Sparrow said.

Gregory was arrested about 2:30 p.m. Tuesday, shortly after police arrived to answer a 911 call that someone had been shot at the house on Coley Farm Road.

The caller said he had the gun and was unloading it and putting it on stairs near the front door, Detective J.S. Wenhart wrote in a search warrant affidavit made public Wednesday.

“Upon arrival, Richard Brandon Gregory was administering CPR (cardiopulmonary resuscitation) to the injured person,” Wenhart wrote in the affidavit.

Police continued CPR until emergency medical services personnel got to the house and pronounced Jolly dead.

Gregory was taken to town police headquarters and “admitted to having shot his stepfather,” the affidavit states. “Gregory admitted they had argued” and said his stepfather had begun shoving him.

“He drew his firearm and after several warnings shot his stepfather one time,” Wenhart wrote.

Police found Jolly shot in the chest, according to Fuquay-Varina spokeswoman Susan Weis.

The search warrant allowed City-County Bureau of Investigation agents to collect evidence from the house. They took a .45-caliber Smith & Wesson pistol and a magazine for it that held seven bullets; several boxes of ammunition for various caliber pistols and a shotgun; pistol holsters, rolling papers and a metal pipe, according to the warrant.

Gregory told police that his stepfather sometimes used drugs, Wenhart said.

Gregory, an unemployed student at Wake Tech Community College, was being held in the medical unit of the Wake County jail. Sparrow would not comment on why.

McDonald: 919-829-4533

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