Local News

Emotions Run High At Quadruple Murder Suspect's Court Hearing

Posted October 19, 2006

— Relatives of four men killed last November in a Durham townhome lashed out Thursday as the man accused of the execution-style slayings made his initial court appearance.

Rodrick Vernard Duncan, 27, was indicted Monday on four counts of first-degree murder, one count of attempted murder and one count of attempted robbery in the Nov. 19 slayings of Juan Coleman, 27; Jamel Holloway, 27; Lennis Harris Jr., 24; and Jonathan Skinner, 26.

The four men were found in a second-floor bedroom in a townhouse on Alpine Drive. Each had been shot in the head. Two other people were wounded in the incident.

Police said the victims were the targets of a drug-related robbery. The indictment alleged that Duncan was heavily armed when he stole cocaine and marijuana from the apartment.

Duncan was brought to Durham Tuesday from Forsyth County, where he is in federal custody after pleading guilty to drug and weapons charges in an unrelated case.

Security was tight for his Durham court appearance, where he was assigned a court-appointed attorney. About a dozen deputies were inside the courtroom and in nearby hallways.

Family members of the victims couldn't contain their anger and grief at seeing Duncan. Some sobbed in the courtroom.

"I want to jump up and beat his head in, plain and simple," said Ryan Taylor, Coleman's brother.

Lennis Harris Sr. said all of the victims' relatives are pleased that an arrest has been made in the case after 11 months, but the criminal case is a painful reminder of the slayings.

"The last thing my son and I said to each other was that we loved each other. I will never forget that," Harris said. "It's in my heart forever."

Police said more arrests are expected in the case.

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