Fourth teen to be prosecuted as adult in Raleigh greenway beating death
Posted May 14, 2013
RALEIGH, N.C. — A 15-year-old boy – one of five teens accused of beating a homeless man to death on a Raleigh greenway last year – can be tried as an adult, a Wake County District Court judge ruled Tuesday afternoon.
The body of Regynald Jose Brown, 37, was found Dec. 8 – more than two weeks after he was reported missing – in a trash can in a drainage tunnel along the Walnut Creek Trail of the Capital Area Greenway.
A witness testified during a custody review hearing Tuesday that the teen used a rock the size of a basketball and hit an unconscious Brown in the head three times before leaving him to die. He and at least one other teen allegedly returned a few days later and put Brown in the trash can.
Judges have already ruled that three other 15-year-olds detained in the case can also be prosecuted as adults while a 13-year-old will remain in the juvenile court system.
The mother of the teen involved in Tuesday's hearing said she doesn't think the group of teens killed Brown and that she believes prosecutors have singled out her son as the ringleader.
"They took these five kids and turned them against each other," said the mother, who isn't being identified because her son is still considered a juvenile until he is indicted. "These boys are boys that are victims of the system. It was easy to get these five boys and take them down. It was real easy for them to do that."
Several of the other teens accused in the case have testified in hearings that what they were part of a clique that had a habit of terrorizing homeless people – what they called a "lick" – and that Brown was a target.
The teens allegedly threw rocks at him and then burned his face with a cigarette. When he tried to get away, they reportedly punched him and kicked him until he was unconscious.
"They may have seen him that day," the teen's mother said. "I do believe that, but as far as killing him, that's not who they are. That's not who they are by far."
The mother also said her son has mental health issues and in concerned that his needs are not being met by the state.
"He doesn't understand what's going right now," she said. "He's confused, trying to figure out, 'How can people that I trust do this to me? How can the people that we name as our counselors and our DA and our judges sit here and take my life from me based on a bunch of lies?'"
Prosecutors had no comment on the mother's statements Tuesday. They typically do not comment on active cases.