Local News

Man Charged In Durham Quadruple Homicide

Posted October 16, 2006
Updated May 18, 2007

— Nearly a year after the execution-style slayings of four men at a Durham townhouse, Durham police have charged a man in connection with the case.

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 lying on the carpet of a small, second-floor bedroom in a townhouse on Alpine Drive, each shot in the head. Two other people were injured.

Police said the victims were the targets of a drug-related robbery.

"We say that (Duncan's) a principal and has been identified as playing a key role," Durham Police Chief Steve Chalmers said at a news conference Monday.

Chalmers said Duncan knew the victims and that more suspects may be charged.

Duncan has a criminal record that dates to at least 1998 and includes charges of drug trafficking, assault on a government official, driving while intoxicated and possession of a stolen firearm.

Durham police had arrested Duncan on Nov. 4 and charged him with drug trafficking and possession of cocaine with the intent to manufacture, sell or deliver, and other charges.

At the time of the shootings, he was free on $100,000 bond, police said.

Duncan remains in federal custody on armed drug-trafficking charges stemming from an April 5 arrest.

He had pleaded guilty to federal drug and weapons charges for an unrelated case and is in federal custody in Forsyth County awaiting sentencing, which is scheduled for Oct. 30.

Investigators spent days searching the townhouse gathering evidence, and police canvassed neighborhoods for months looking for new leads.

Lennis Harris Sr., the father of one of the victims, told WRAL on Monday that the latest developments in the case are what the victims' relatives have been hoping, but that at the same time, it is overwhelming and seems to have brought on another set of emotions.

Durham County District Attorney Mike Nifong said Monday that he will seek the death penalty in the case.

"In the 28 years that I have been in Durham County, this has been, by far, the most egregious single act of violence that has occurred in this county," Nifong said.

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