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Benson slaying suspect found hiding in closet

Posted February 10, 2011

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— Benson police said they found the suspect in a January slaying hiding in a closet Wednesday afternoon.

James Alexander Graham, 27, of Dunn, was wanted on a first-degree murder charge in the Jan. 20 shooting death of Montay Lashawn Murphy, 20. Murphy was shot three times in Coats Circle Apartments, off North Honeycutt Street.

Lt. Greg Percy said that Graham was found Wednesday hiding inside a closet in a home at 323 N. Baker St. in Four Oaks. He and another man at the house – Roderick Jerome Johnson, 23, of Bunnlevel – were arrested without incident.

Investigators searched for over three weeks for Graham, with the help of state, federal and other local agencies, Percy said.

"Many hours and miles were spent attempting to apprehend him," he said in a statement. "We also hope that our community and the friends and family of Montay Murphy can gain some comfort from this arrest and begin to heal from this tragic situation."

Graham was placed in the Johnston County jail and denied bond. In connection with the shooting, he also faces two counts each of attempted first-degree murder and shooting into an occupied building.

Johnson was charged with felony harboring a fugitive. He was being held in the Johnston County jail under a $500,000 secured bond.

Two other people were arrested the day after the shooting. Leslie Dyan Baker, 21, of Smithfield, and Quentine Mondarus Morrisey, 22, of Four Oaks, face one count of accessory after the fact to first-degree murder and two counts each of accessory after the fact to attempted first-degree murder and accessory after the fact to shooting into an occupied dwelling.

Graham was an absconder from probation at the time of the shooting, according to state Department of Correction records. His criminal record includes 11 felony convictions involving drug dealing and possession.

Morrisey's criminal record, dating to 2004, includes convictions for larceny of firearms, possession of a firearm by a felon and breaking-and-entering, DOC records state. Johnson has a single previous conviction for felony breaking-and-entering.


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  • stopdcraziness Feb 10, 2011

    Hiding in the closet?? He was brave enough to take a life, he should have been brave enough to face the po-po...They could have saved the tax payers a lot of money. Bang, bang...

  • sneeziegal Feb 10, 2011

    Gee, I would have never thought to look for him there because nobody hides in a closet right? The only way this could have been funnier is if they said he was hiding under the bed. And good one Justin T!

  • LongHorns Feb 10, 2011

    Justin T this guy is a predator hey will prey upon the weak in prison, no body will prey on him.

  • heels21 Feb 10, 2011

    @cantbtaught Lokks like the same life you explained is the same for him in jail or not.

  • LetsGetHigh Feb 10, 2011

    Just think of how many crimes he committed while he was on the run because he just didn't care because he knew it was only a matter of time

  • mad_dash Feb 10, 2011

    Give him the needle already!

  • same ole story Feb 10, 2011

    WELL SOME PEOPLE JUST DON'T GET IT. NOW HE WILL BE LIVING OFF THE CITIZENS DIME FOR FREE!!! WATCHING TV, PLAYING BASKETBALL, SMOKING CIGARETTES, LIFTING WEIGHTS AND EATING THREE MEALS A DAY. Bring back the chain gangs and not make prison such a nice place to live. Make hime do some hard time. If he doesn't want to work on the out side make him work on the inside for society!!!!!

  • Justin T. Feb 10, 2011

    The bright side here is that the inmates he'll encounter in prison are already out of the closet. Don't drop the soap.

  • wildcat Feb 10, 2011

    He hid because he was guilty. Praying that the courts will give him life in prison without parole.

  • miss Q B Feb 10, 2011

    repeat offenders. no surprise there!! if they were off the streets in the 1st place, murders and crime rates would drop. 11 felonies?!?! how many does it take to get put away and serve a substanial amount of time? :(