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Suspects in Goldsboro teen's death make first court appearance

Posted September 24, 2012

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— 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."


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  • joestevens315 Sep 27, 2012

    Both the parents of Kevin Smith are and were the worst role models a child could have, Kevin spent many years at the Dobbs School in Kinston

  • joestevens315 Sep 27, 2012

    This is Kevin Smith's fathers criminal history http://webapps6.doc.state.nc.us/opi/viewoffender.do?method=view&offenderID=0378283&searchLastName=smith&searchFirstName=mark&searchMiddleName=k&listurl=pagelistoffendersearchresults&listpage=1

  • joestevens315 Sep 27, 2012

    The parents of Kevin Edward Smith are currently in Jail his father Mark Kevin Smith is being held at Neuse Correctional and will be there until July 2017 for forgery while his mother is in the Wayne county jail for DWI among other things and has 7 felony counts against her for the same offense

  • Really8745 Sep 25, 2012

    Heavenly, I don't understand how one could even think they were innocent. They lead the police to the remains. I think they'll plead guilty to avoid the death penalty.

  • stevee2 Sep 25, 2012

    Buckwheat alert!

  • gtwoods3627 Sep 25, 2012

    can you say death penalty

  • WageSlave Sep 25, 2012


    But the perpetrators family said they were innocent. They were not their and have no idea what happen. Just saving their love one who is always in some kind of trouble. But this murder tops all of it, does it not?

    Not sure what point your trying to make.

    Gang or not. Give them a trial, Let them go or punish them, and the let the families get over what they are going through.

  • malonem1 Sep 25, 2012

    Ages 21, 19, 18 and 17 - i hope they all have to spend the rest of their lives in prison thinking each day of this tragedy. It is terrible and a shame to society that we have young teens at this age thinking of taking another life. When I grew up, the times were so much better than today - we didn't think to take another life - let the four of them be punished and teach the others in society a lesson - not to take anyone's life - Terrible - My thoughts and prayers are with this boy and his family and to think that he could have contributed a lot to society and it was all taken away from these four people -

  • charmcclainlovesdogs2 Sep 25, 2012

    They all knew it was wrong to take a life.

  • charmcclainlovesdogs2 Sep 25, 2012

    The evidence will prove their guilt for all of them. They did not have the sense to cover up the evidence. They are all guilty and should prayfully receive life in prison without parole, ever!