Suspects in Goldsboro teen's death make first court appearance
Posted September 24, 2012
Goldsboro, N.C. — Four men suspected of kidnapping and killing a 16-year-old Goldsboro boy two weeks ago made their first court appearance Monday on murder charges.
Kennedy "Ken" Fitzgerald McLaurin was the subject of an Amber Alert after he was abducted by from the 700 block of Bain Street in the Woodcrest Housing Community on Sept. 9.
Investigators are awaiting the results of an autopsy to positively identify a body found Saturday on a remote farm near Seven Springs in Wayne County. McLaurin's mother said one of the men led authorities to the location, although she did not say which one.
Police arrested Leonard Eugene Joyner, 21, Jerome Jilah Butts, 19, Kevin Edward Smith, 18, and Curtis Etheridge, 17, all of Goldsboro, over the weekend in connection with the case.
Authorities say the four had a motive to kill McLaurin, but they have not elaborated on that, other than to say the crime was neither random nor gang-related.
According to Smith's grandmother, he told her that he is in a gang. A friend of Joyner's, who did not want to be identified, said he is not a gang member.
"Absolutely not," the friend said. "I don't see Leonard related to a gang at all. It's not his nature."