Man released from jail in Durham homicide arrested for Chapel Hill killing
Posted June 18, 2014
Chapel Hill, N.C. — A Durham man arrested Wednesday for a fatal Chapel Hill shooting last month was released from jail just weeks before the killing because he had awaited trial for nearly two years.
Brandon Shamar Townsend, 21, of Varina Drive, was arrested by the U.S. Marshals Joint Fugitive Task Force. He was transported to the Orange County jail where he is being held without bond on first-degree and attempted first-degree murder charges.
Townsend's latest charges stem from a May 30 shooting at 102 Christopher Road in Chapel Hill. Officers responded to the home regarding a reported break-in and found Lewhahn Hood, 33, dead from several gunshot wounds.
Bartholomew Romidas Scott, 35, was arrested on May 30 and also charged with first-degree murder in the shooting. He remains in the Orange County jail.
Police have released few details in the case, other than saying neither Hood nor Scott lived at the Christopher Road residence.
Courtney Cox, who lives near the home, described the area as quiet but heard arguing coming from the home on the day of the shooting.
"There was some guys over there, a little bit of commotion, and then we just got up and went on our way," she said.
The Chapel Hill homicide occurred about a month after Townsend was released from the Durham County jail. Townsend was awaiting trial for the May 10, 2011 death of Shakanah China. The 13-year-old was playing outside an Atka Court apartment complex when shots were fired from a passing van. Shakanah was pronounced dead at a hospital.
Townsend's attorneys argued he wasn't in the area when the girl was shot. Prosecutors delayed his trial while awaiting DNA evidence to be tested by the backlogged State Crime Lab. The district attorney's office eventually dismissed the case due to a violation of Townsend's right to a speedy trial.
Townsend's release and rearrest was shocking news to Evelyn Poole, Hood's sister.
"When I saw that he was released in April and served that time, I immediately felt like 'oh my gosh,'" she said. "If that was my child how would I feel that the person I assume that killed her was released. I look at it like you were released in April and you're free and my brother dies a month later. That makes me sick to my stomach.”
Poole hopes Shakanah's family receives some sort of closure.
"I hate this for this child and I hope that family gets their own justice as well," she said.