A Superior Court judge rejected a request Wednesday to lower bail for a suspect in the murder of a man last year on Christopher Road in Chapel Hill.
Bartholomew Romindas Scott, 35, and Brandon Shamar Townsend, 22, both of Durham, have been charged with first-degree murder in the May 30, 2014, death of Lew Hahn “Ron” Hood, 33, of Durham. Police found Hood’s body in the driveway of a Christopher Road home with a gunshot to the head.
It’s been nine months since another judge cut Scott’s $1 million bail in half, Attorney Kellie Mannette said.
He was unable to pay that amount, she said, and is still in the Orange County Jail. His wife needs him at home, however, to help care full-time for a son with a traumatic brain injury and to keep his tattoo business, Gorilla Ink Tattoos, up and running.
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Scott could run the business from the family’s home, she said, if the judge agrees to a $100,000 secured bail.
Assistant District Attorney Lamar Proctor countered the request, asking Judge Allen Baddour to restore Scott’s $1 million bond. A continuing investigation has made the case against Scott “nothing but stronger,” Proctor said.
The victim’s blood has been found on Scott’s clothing, he said, and the story told by a witness at the house has been confirmed through GPS tracking.
Scott, who called 911 to report shooting someone during a break-in, was alone at the house when police arrived. They also found casings from a 9mm handgun and a shotgun at the scene, but no weapons have been found.
A witness has told police Hood was complaining that morning at the house that Scott owed him money. A masked man came in and pointed a gun, pulling the trigger, the witness said. It jammed, the witness told police, and he ran and hid, escaping through a window after hearing more shots.
Warrants said police found a black mask later, while searching Scott, but did not say who was wearing the mask during the shooting. Police also recovered text messages between Scott and Townsend that included directions to the house and details about where to find a weapon.
Other witnesses reported seeing a burgundy truck near the house before the 911 call. The truck – similar to one owned by Townsend’s mother – was gone before police arrived. Townsend is suspected of leaving the scene and taking the weapons with him, Proctor said.
Townsend is still in the Orange County Jail under $500,000 bail. Scott’s case has been continued to Oct 13.
No death penalty
Orange County prosecutors said Wednesday they do not plan to seek the death penalty in two murder cases now winding through court:
▪ Charles Anthony Rhames, 25, formerly of Fayetteville, is charged with the April 3 stabbing death of Walter Preston, 27, in downtown Chapel Hill. He is being held in the Orange County Jail under a $500,000 bail.
▪ Jerry Wayne Sawyers and his son, Christopher Ray Sawyers, who are charged with the 2007 beating death of Charles Sidney Lloyd, 47, of Efland. They are being held in the Orange County Jail without bond.