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'I would have died': Durham man who acted in self-defense found not guilty of murder

Posted August 2

— A Durham man, who was accused of murder but said he acted in self-defense, was found not guilty by a Wilson County jury on Saturday after a two-week trial.

Steve Maddox says he is not angry about what he went though and said he does not have any hard feelings, but he wants his case to be a cautionary tale to others about what can happen when there is a rush to judgement.

"Most people don't walk away from a first-degree murder," Maddox said.

Maddox shot 41-year-old Kelly Wilkerson of Raleigh in self-defense outside Bill Ellis Convention Center on the night of Oct. 17, 2015.

He said they had an ongoing conflict and that Wilkerson attacked him in a bathroom at the convention center.

"It took about four guys to finally pull him off me after that," Maddox said.

The fight continued in the parking lot.

"He grabbed me and threw me up against the cars," he said.

With help from others, Maddox got away and called 911. Wilkerson then attacked a third time and threw Maddox to the ground.

"I discharged my firearm a total of five rounds," Maddox said.

WRAL News spoke to Wilkerson's wife, Adia shortly after the shooting. She witnessed it and testified at the trial.

"I ran in the direction of the shots and my soul mate was lying on the ground," she said.

Maddox says he fired in self-defense.

"There is no doubt I would have died out there," he said.

Maddox believes the truth prevailed because he had resources and good attorneys on his side.

"Had I not had the resources to go back and challenge the state, I would be sitting in jail for the rest of my life," he said.

Maddox said he is the exception, and that so many people who don't have the resources end up pleading guilty even when they're not.

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  • Benjamin Kite Aug 3, 11:56 a.m.
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    He got a court case when he ought to have been given a medal.