Local News

Suspects Charged In Durham Murder Held On $1 Million Bond

Posted June 12, 2002

— All the defendants in 89-year-old Lois Joyner Cannady's murder will be held on $1 million bond each, with probable cause hearings set for June 28.

The courtroom was packed as Little Jerome Freeman, Ricky Evelon Morris Jr., Gregory Jamar Lee and Michael Bernard Sullivan made their first appearance Monday afternoon.

Also in the courtroom were members of the Cannady family.

"I really wanted to be close to them and just see what they looked like. I felt like I was looking at four people that looked remorseful to me," said Ralph Cannady, Lois' son.

Cameras were allowed briefly in the courtroom but ordered out before the hearing began.

Greg Lee Sr. says his son and the other defendants must be held responsible for their actions.

"That's just the way I look at it. Whether it's my son or anybody else's son, if you break the law, you need to pay the cost," he said.

On Friday, authorities arrested Freeman, Morris, and Lee. All three are charged with first-degree burglary, attempted armed robbery and murder.

Sullivan turned himself in to authorities Friday night. Investigators suspect Sullivan pulled the trigger on the gun that shot Cannady.

Saturday morning, a 14-year-old turned himself in to authorities and is being held in the Durham County Youth Home detention center. Both teens were charged with murder, first-degree burglary and attempted armed robbery.

Durham County deputies are investigating whether Cannady's murder might have been part of a gang initiation.

According to arrest warrants, two guns were brought to Lee's home in anticipation of a robbery. Authorities said Lee lived across the street from Cannady, who was shot to death while on the phone with Durham 911.

Cannady apparently thought so much of Lee, who she once took care of, that she kept his prom picture in her wallet.

An attorney involved in the case said there is a possibility this may not end up as a capital murder case because the suspected gunman is only 16 years old.

Funeral services were held for Cannady on Sunday.

Later that day, a group of people gathered together in Durham for an anti-violence vigil.

The event was planned before last week's murder, but organizers said it drove home the fact that violence can hit anyone at anytime, anywhere.

Some said that vigils like these offer up a chance to change attitudes.

"A lot of people are saying, 'What is talking going to do?' Well, sometimes you can get through to people and teach them a better way. Some people don't know any other ways to handle discouragement than through violent acts," said Yvonne Allen, co-organizer of the rally.

The group's focus was on local violence, but the vigil began with a moment of silence for the victims of Sept. 11.

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