Raleigh police track new leads in 2009 shooting death

rgallagher@newsobserver.comApril 24, 2014 

— Police detectives are following new leads in a 2009 shooting death, including taking a DNA sample from a man whose fingerprint has just recently been linked to one found in the victim’s car.

Police are still trying to solve the killing of James Carol DeBerry, 32, whose girlfriend found him shot in his apartment at 5952 Shadetree Lane on Oct. 31, 2009.

Within two days of DeBerry’s death, detectives filed murder charges against James Harold Courtney III, then 43, and David Eric Moses, then 45. A Wake County grand jury indicted both later that month.

Trials for both Courtney and Moses ended in hung juries, and prosecutors opted not to try them again.

The case against Moses, who lived in the same building as DeBerry, was dismissed on Dec. 16, 2010. A judge dismissed the charge against Courtney on April 14, 2011.

DeBerry’s slaying went back to being unsolved.

The investigation took on new life earlier this month, when police got two search warrants exactly three years after Courtney’s case dissolved.

One warrant allows them to take a cheek swab from Ivan McFarland, 40, so they can compare his DNA with DNA found at the crime scene, Detective Z.A. Morse said when he requested a search warrant.

The other warrant allows police to search through data on cellphones that belonged to Moses and Courtney.

Morse said police were led to McFarland “recently” when a fingerprint found on DeBerry’s vehicle came up as a match with one of McFarland’s.

McFarland was convicted in March 2001 of misdemeanor marijuana possession and resisting arrest in Durham, prison records show, so his fingerprints would be on file with law enforcement authorities.

Why his fingerprints were compared now with the ones found in DeBerry’s car in 2009 is not explained, however.

“Ivan McFarland was interviewed and denied any involvement in this homicide, to include knowing the victim and ever being in Raleigh,” Morse wrote.

McFarland told Morse that he knows Courtney, “but denies being present during the commission of the murder of James DeBerry.”

Morse got the warrant on April 14 and got the swab from McFarland that afternoon.

Morse did not say when or where police got the phones, writing only that, “As this investigation has progressed, multiple search warrants have been executed at various locations,” and the searches turned up the phones.

Gallagher: 919-829-4572

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