Local News

Grand Jury Hears Deputy Shooting Case Again

Posted July 9, 2007

— A New Hanover County grand jury began hearing evidence Monday in the case of a former deputy who killed a Durham teen in December during a botched raid.

The hearing is expected to continue Tuesday.

Peyton Strickland, 18, a Cape Fear Community College student from Durham, was shot to death at his Wilmington home on Dec. 1 by deputies serving arrest and search warrants. Strickland and two friends were charged with assaulting a University of North Carolina at Wilmington student in November and stealing two PlayStation 3 consoles from him.

UNC-W police asked for support from the New Hanover County Sheriff's Office during the arrests of the suspects in the case because of the potential that they were armed and dangerous, authorities said. Nine heavily armed deputies accompanied UNC-W police to Strickland's home to serve the warrants.

Three deputies fired shots into the home, and evidence showed some shots were fired before Strickland opened the door. Strickland, who was unarmed, died of a gunshot wound to the head.

Cpl. Christopher Long, 34, was fired by the New Hanover County Sheriff's Office a week after the shooting and was later indicted on a charge of second-degree murder in connection with the shooting.

But the murder charge was dismissed a day after the indictment was returned. The foreman of the grand jury said he checked the wrong box on the indictment form and that members of the grand jury didn't find enough evidence to charge Long with murder.

New Hanover County District Attorney Ben David turned the case over to the state Attorney General's Office and the State Bureau of Investigation in February, saying he wanted to avoid the appearance of a vendetta against the former deputy or a cover-up.

Long was called to testify before the grand jury and is expected to continue answering questions Tuesday.


Please with your WRAL.com account to comment on this story. You also will need a Facebook account to comment.

Oldest First
View all
  • littleredwolfie Jul 9, 2007

    I agree with Derrrrrrrrrrrrr....I have seen too many cases which were clearly murder pled down to AWDWWITKISI. This was a mistake. I really don't see how he can be charged with Second Degree Murder.

  • wcnc Jul 9, 2007

    "you rpoat" -- that was suppose to read your post. Sorry- was typing too quickly....

  • wcnc Jul 9, 2007

    nowayeddy-- I may have read you rpoat wrong-- do you mean that you haven't seen a lawsuit from the family against the department or from the deputy against the department?? Since the deputy serves at the pleasure of the sheriff (vs a police department that has a process to go through before firing) the deptuy can't sue for being fired. And I think the family will wait for more to happen in relation to the indictment process before they sue. And this may shock you, but I think the department may jsut settle with them in a lawsuit and perhaps that's how it should be.......

  • wcnc Jul 9, 2007

    "I am employed at the pleasure of my employer, but not fired unless I do something wrong, unless they want to get sued. Have not heard of any lawsuit against New Hanover Sherrif over this, have you???" THere are quite a few employers, especially in government jobs, but also in the private sector, that must go through many stages before a person can be fired- not so for deputies in NC- there is no grievance process as other workers have. I don't know why you think there would be a lawsuit against the NHCSD at this point....that will be once an indictment and/or conviction, etc is reached. But I am quite certain the family will file-- against the deputy and against the SO and the county.

  • nowayeddy Jul 9, 2007

    I could conceded to Voluntary Manslaughter, this is not 1st degree, think it should go 2nd degree. It would probably end up voluntary manslaugter anyway, in the long run. Would like NC law enforcement policies concerning agression reviewed and revised. Citizens of the US don't deserve to be treated in such a manner, provided they are not armed. If the kid was armed, I would say, blow his brains against the wall. In this case, that was not the case.

  • nowayeddy Jul 9, 2007

    mominnc07, I am employed at the pleasure of my employer, but not fired unless I do something wrong, unless they want to get sued. Have not heard of any lawsuit against New Hanover Sherrif over this, have you???

  • Derrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr Jul 9, 2007

    The N&O is reporting that they are seeking a manslaughter charge. It would be nice if WRAL could keep up.

  • Derrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr Jul 9, 2007

    "If the cop was so in the right, why was he fired."
    He obviously wasn't in the right and it was best that he was let go, but it was a mistake, not murder.

  • Derrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr Jul 9, 2007

    I don't think we're discussing a very important point here: What charges are they looking at this time? The article doesn't say. 2nd degree murder will never fly in this case, but if they're trying to indict him on a manslaughter charge it might get to trial. It would be nice if they would report what charges the state is seeking. It WAS NOT 2nd degree murder, it's a joke to even try and indict him on that.

  • wcnc Jul 9, 2007

    "If the cop was so in the right, why was he fired."

    In NC, deputies serve at the pleasure of the Sheriff and can be fired for any or no reason. THe firing of a deputy doesn't not mean they did anything wrong because deputies can be fired for any reason their boss, the Sheriff, wants.