Raleigh, N.C. — Raleigh police have charged two men with killing a young man who saw a wreck last January, stopped to help and unknowingly got himself involved in a bizarre chain of events following a home invasion.
Christopher Todd Rochelle, 34, of Raleigh, and Samuel Gideon, 35, of Holly Springs, were charged Friday with first-degree murder in the Jan. 15 death of Eleazar Brache Herrera, 20.
Police said that Herrera and several of his cousins were headed home from a family party when they stopped to help two men standing beside a wrecked GMC Envoy in the 4900 block of New Hope Road around 5 a.m. The men got into an argument for an unknown reason and stabbed Herrera.
The wrecked GMC Envoy had been stolen during a home invasion on Wallingford Drive, a quarter-mile away, only minutes before the wreck. However, police say, two men charged in that home invasion – Ronald Steven Earl Gaither, 23, and Terrell Gaither Hilliard, 19 – had left the crash scene by the time Herrera arrived and were not involved in the stabbing.
Police have not commented on why Rochelle and Gideon came to the wreck scene but, in the past, have said that the suspects in Herrera's death had no connection with him or the home invasion. Rochelle lives near the site of the crash.
Herrera's family described him as hard-working, caring and the clown of the family.
"My son was loved by all of us greatly," said his mother, Nury Brache. "His death has just left a big silence in us."
Gideon and Rochelle both have criminal records dating to the 1990s which include convictions for assault and possessing stolen goods, according to state Division of Adult Correction records. Rochelle has also been convicted of common-law robbery.
Both men have been placed on probation multiple times and served a single jail term of less than a year for a probation violation.