Crime

Police say Cary man called 911 to say he killed his mother, girlfriend

Brandon James Lee, charged with murder, makes first court appearance.

Brandon James Lee, charged with killing his mother and girlfriend in Cary, makes his first appearance in a Wake County courtroom Monday.
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Brandon James Lee, charged with killing his mother and girlfriend in Cary, makes his first appearance in a Wake County courtroom Monday.

The man spoke calmly for the duration of a 13-minute call to police Sunday in which he confessed that he had strangled his mother and girlfriend.

Brandon James Lee, 34, of 24203 Havers Drive made the call at about 3:41 p.m., police said. Lee was arrested a short time later by Cary police and charged with murdering Christa Lee, 58, who lived with him on Havers Drive, and Krystal Juell Hylton, 28, of 1115 Parktop Drive.

During the 911 call that police attributed to Lee, a man says he killed his mother on Dec. 13 or 14 at their home on Havers Drive after she attacked him with a knife. He told the dispatcher that her body was in the bathtub.

“She came at me with a knife, and I ended up choking her,” he said on a recording that police released Monday. “My mother wanted to kill herself. I couldn’t let her kill herself because that is an unforgiveable sin, and she was trying to kill me at the same time.”

The man said he had killed his girlfriend on Saturday afternoon at her home on Parktop Drive after she tried to leave him.

“My girlfriend was seeing someone else and lying to me, and I ended up choking her, too,” he said. “I’ve just been drinking, trying to get up the nerve to turn myself in.”

He told the dispatcher he was unarmed and sitting on the couch in the living room of his girlfriend’s apartment where she was lying on the floor.

“I’m just worried about how everything went down and just willing to turn myself in,” he said. “Give me the chair, whatever you need to do. It’s just a terrible tragedy that it happened.”

The man added that his dog was still at his home on Havers Drive and that he had returned as late as that morning to feed him.

Lee, a New Jersey native, made his first appearance in a Wake County courtroom Monday for the two murder charges, each punishable by death or life imprisonment without parole, according to police. His next court appearance is scheduled for Jan. 11.

Wake County records show that Lee was arrested on Dec. 14 on charges of communicating threats and trespassing on posted property. On Nov. 22, he was arrested at a shopping center on Tryon Woods Drive on a charge of injury to property, and he was charged Aug. 31 with injury to property and disorderly conduct the previous day.

Lee was held without bail at the Wake County Detention Center. He was already scheduled to appear in court on Jan. 15 and March 8 on the previous charges.

Lee and his mother appeared in many pictures together on Facebook within the last year. Christa Lee also posted several pictures of her son, which she said appeared in GQ during his 10 years as a model, according to her Facebook page.

He previously attended Rutgers University, according to his Facebook page.

Christa Lee, a New Jersey native, was a real estate agent and a former behavioral science specialist with the U.S. Army, according to her Facebook page. She was also a former dancer on the television show “Soul Train,” which ran from 1971 to 2006 and featured performances by R&B, soul and hip hop artists. In an interview on the “Soul Train” website last month, Lee said her son worked in sales but was not specific.

In August, Lee wrote that she had been diagnosed with basal cell carcinoma, one of the more treatable types of skin cancer.

Cary police described the deaths as the town’s fourth and fifth homicides of the year.

On Friday, the death of Nalini Tellaprolu, 51, was ruled a homicide by the State Medical Examiner’s Office. Tellaprolu’s body was found Thursday afternoon at her home in the 2100 block of Roland Glen Road, police said.

Police Chief Tony Godwin said three homicides in less than a week was “very uncommon” for Cary. The four homicides in 2014 were the most in the town had seen in at least a decade.

“I’ve been here 25 years, and I don’t recall a time where we’ve had more than that,” Godwin said.

Officials urge anyone with information about the killings to contact the Cary Police Department at 919-469-4012 or file a report anonymously with Cary Crime Stoppers at 919-460-4636.

Kathryn Trogdon; 919-460-2608: @KTrogdon

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