Local News

'They Weren't My Sons,' Shooting Victim Says

Posted April 1, 1999

— The Vance County mother, who police say, was allegedly shot by her 11-year-old twin sons, tells a friend what happened the night she and her daughter were shot, and her husband was murdered.

Deborah Bawcum told a friend "they weren't my sons," and that "they had these blank looks."

Sheriff's deputies have charged the twins with murdering their father, William Bawcum, and wounding their mother and sister on Thursday night.

Bawcum, was released from the hospital Saturday afternoon; her 16-year-old daughter, Robin, was released Saturday evening.

A funeral service for 46-year-old William Harvey Bawcum, Jr. is scheduled for 2 p.m. Monday at the Gentry-Newell & Vaughan Funeral Chapel in Oxford. Burial will follow at Sunset Gardens in Henderson.

Deputies received a call about the shooting via 911 just after 9 p.m. Thursday. They arrived at the home, south of Henderson in the Kittrell area, and found what they described as a "gory" scene.

Investigators said they do not know why the shootings occurred, but they are beginning to focus on unspecified family problems. They say that they do believe the brothers had conspired to kill, and that their mother apparently interrupted them, just as the plan had begun to unfold.

"We don't have a reason. We basically understand what happened, but we don't know why, and we're not sure why," said Capt. J. D. Shockley of the Vance County Sheriff's Department.

Sheriff Thomas Breedlove said Deborah Bawcum was shot first. She was hit twice with a .38 caliber handgun. William Bawcum then came in and tried to protect her. He was also shot twice. Then the sister, Robin, was shot once.

"The sister was in a swing on the front porch," said Breedlove. "The mother was in the upstairs right bedroom, the father upstairs left bedroom. One of the perpetrators was with the mother, and the other one was wandering around the house."

Those first on the scene said that the site was not chaotic. Deputies said that upon arriving, one of the boys was outside feeding his rabbits.

"Everything was pretty calm at that time," Breedlove said. "The perpetrators were calm, and the victims were calm."

Deputies say the way one of the 11-year-olds handled himself in the 911 call makes them think he shows no remorse.

The crime has shocked people in the area, including some who knew the family. They say that the Bawcums were just the average American family.

Robin, the twins' sister, is an all-conference volleyball player at Southern Vance High School. Her coach knows the whole family, including the twins.

"It's something you never would believe would happen," Darlynn Oxendine said. "You know, all boys are mischievous. Right, but these guys, you never would imagine when you hear it on the telephone."

"She spent a lot of time with them," Oxendine said. "And whatever happened in their minds to make them act like this, no one will ever know, but I do know that Robin loved them."

Bill Newman, a close family friend, saw one of the twins being led out of the house by officers.

"You would think that they would be upset and scared, but he got right into the patrol car like it was no big deal," Newman said.

Newman said he never saw the shootings coming. He said the boys were mischievous, but seemed completely normal.

"It's pretty cold when you raise two boys and they shoot you," he said. "There's something wrong somewhere. Something snapped somewhere."

The boys' names are not being released since they are juvenile suspects. They are being held at separate juvenile detention centers in Granville and Wake Counties.

The twins will appear in court Wednesday where they face juvenile charges of murder and assault with a deadly weapon.

Lawyers for the boys say they can be tried in Superior Court, but under North Carolina law, they are too young to face the death penalty. Photographer:Jim Young


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