Local News

Grand Jury to Hear Pinned Intruder Case

Posted November 20, 2007

— Prosecutors will send a case to the grand jury to determine whether a Selma man should face charges for allegedly pinning a suspected thief between a car and a fence and killing him.

District Attorney Susan Doyle said Tuesday that because of the unusual facts of the case and the complex legal issues involved, she thought it was best for the grand jury to decide whether John Reid should face criminal charges.

"Based upon the case, as I've reviewed it, there is no better body … to review this case and consider all the evidence and determine collectively whether the homeowner's actions in this case rose to the level of a crime or whether they were, in fact, justified under the law," Doyle said.

The grand jury convenes Dec. 10, when Doyle expects to present the case.

Sheriff's investigators said Reid pulled into the driveway of his home as two men were trying to leave his residence on Nov. 8. He told authorities he tried to block their path with his pickup truck and mistakenly hit the gas pedal as Cornelius Brown tried to get out of the car and run.

Brown, whose head was pinned, was taken to Duke University Hospital, where he died the next morning.

Brown's sister, Nanette Brown, said she and her family hope the grand jury will give the case a fair look. They want to know exactly what happened to her brother and why.

"What was so detrimental that day that you had to crush a person to death with your truck?" she said.

"Whatever the normal criteria is for someone that takes a life, a wrongful death – whatever the punishment is for that, that's what Mr. Reid should receive," she said.

Another man, Mark Ray McNair, 46, of Dudley, was charged with trespassing and larceny in connection with the incident.

Reid said his property had been burglarized three times in recent months and that he had about $6,000 in equipment for his lawn care business on the property.

Investigators found a piece of machinery belonging to Reid into the back of the suspects' car.

This is not the first time a grand jury has heard a case in which a homeowner has wounded a suspected intruder.

Last year, it declined to indict, Randle Holmes, 62, who shot a would-be intruder as the teen drove away in the middle of the night.


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  • TheeRichard Nov 21, 2007

    Mr Brown was trespassing on someone's property and STEALING to boot. Sorry that he was killed. Maybe Mr Reid should've asked if there was any more of his property that Mr Brown desired and helped him load it up.

  • Offshore Nov 21, 2007

    Obscurite, nails it. "angelic" relative. That's funny, he wasn't acting so angelic when he was in the process of stealing. I feel sorry Browns family has to suffer without him. Then again, was he supporting his family by stealing? Heck of an example to set for the relatives. Reid is getting the dirty end of the deal.

  • lovebadboys Nov 21, 2007

    Ohhh the shame of it all. Cant even rob an innocent person without getting killed for it. Makes not having a job look kind of stupid.

  • beachboater Nov 21, 2007

    NCMomof3 you are EXACTLY right!!!!! Look at the news, there are more home invasions and lately more violent home invasions than ever. The crooks are not being deterred by the punishment for the crimes.

    In turn, the crooks have changed the ideals of the majority of people. Look at the poll at the beginning of this story. 87% of people said the victim shouldn't be charged. I agree.

    The law doesn't always agree, but there's an old southern saying that,"some folks just need killin." And some southern juries tend to agree and enforce with that attitude. And in a case like this, I agree completely.

    I was robbed a few years ago. I felt like I had been raped. I assure you that given the same circumstances, I would have been aggressive as well. And I will write my congressman about the Castle Law.

  • FragmentFour Nov 21, 2007

    WRAL--"What was so detrimental that day that you had to crush a person to death with your truck?" she said.

    Well, let's see. First, the man's property - which he used to provide a living wage - was in the process of being stolen. Then when it looked like Brown couldn't just go with his cohort and drive out of the man's yard, he decided to run. He picked a very BAD time to run - but he picked a very bad option when he joined in the robbery attempt in the first place.

    It's rough on the family of the dead man, but the ultimate responsibility for his death lands in his own lap.

  • NCMOMof3 Nov 21, 2007

    Support the homeowners more and we'd have less home invasions

  • Obscurite Nov 21, 2007

    Really, c'mon...who DIDN'T see this coming? Brown commits a crime. During the commission of that crime, gets killed (accident or no). Brown's family screams to the media about how their angelic relative died unjustly. DA investigates and sends to grand jury. And suddenly the crime which precipitates the death no longer matters. The original victim is now the criminal.

    What a world...

  • Tom Carter Nov 21, 2007

    Actually the DA is smart. The grand jury is going to say no charges and then the DA can be free of the decision and can say I had no part of this they decided. This way the criminals family can't be mad at him the Grand Jury said no charges not him.

  • Aries82 Nov 21, 2007

    Respect my property and my family, and there won't be any problems. I'm sure there are more people out there that feel the same.

  • blessalah Nov 21, 2007

    Man, this country is so backward