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Father Charged With Murder in Girl's Shooting Death

Posted January 15, 2008

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— A Henderson man faces a first-degree murder charge in a shooting death that Henderson police said they believe was an accident

Charges against Demario Thomas, 23, were changed Tuesday after the victim, 11-year-old Danielle Terry, died. Thomas was in the Vance County Jail Tuesday being held without bond.

The shooting happened late Monday afternoon at the Henderson Heights apartments while Thomas was apparently babysitting his 3-year-old daughter and her cousin, Terry, police said.

Lt. Charles Pulley said Thomas told investigators one of them got a hold of a 9 mm handgun and that Thomas was trying to get it away from the child when the gun went off.

A bullet struck his daughter in the hand and then Terry in the chest, authorities said. Terry later died at Duke University Hospital in Durham.

The 3-year-old, whose name wasn't released, was listed in good condition Tuesday afternoon at Maria Parham Medical Center in Henderson.

Terry's mother, Catina Thomas, said Tuesday she had no reason to believer he daughter was in any danger.

"I miss my baby so much, and I just want to know what happened," Catina Thomas said.

Pulley said investigators do not think Thomas meant for the shooting to occur, but they will continue to question witnesses.

Because he is a convicted felon for robbery and was in possession of the gun, authorities have to charge him with first-degree murder.

"He was actually committing a felony at the time, being in possession of the firearm," Pulley said.

Thomas was initially charged with two counts of assault with a deadly weapon inflicting serious injury, possession of a firearm by a convicted felon and storing a firearm in a manner accessible to a minor.

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  • BUCKEYEnNC Jan 16, 2008

    Very sad and very tragic!

    It is so simple to safely store a firearm so children don't have access to it!

    This man may have paid his debt to society, but he obviously hasn't learned from his mistakes!

    A convicted felon is not permitted to own a firearm. I am a proponent for responsible gun ownership. I have no problem denying a felon the right to bear arms. We can see that he wasn't responsible enough to keep it safely stored!

  • PikeMom4real Jan 15, 2008

    This is just wrong from every angle! This man did his time,now he is being crucified for his past.Yes,he had a gun (if they found out it actually was his),so punish him for this but not murder.This is going too far.

  • Godschild43 Jan 15, 2008

    This is a sad story. He should be punished.Just tired of CHILDREN being killed.

  • Winston Jan 15, 2008

    Every day Denario Thomas woke up possessing that 9mm, he committed a felony. HIS actions are the reason his daughter is dead.

  • GingerTea Jan 15, 2008

    you're right, heavensent. he has to live with this for the rest of his life. i don't think i could do it.

  • TexasKate Jan 15, 2008

    Danielle Terry was an exceptionally beautiful child. We lost something important when she died.

  • Heavensent Jan 15, 2008

    What a sad story. I know the parent's of these children are devastated. He has to live with this incident the rest of his life. Prayers for the families involved.

  • jenn27537 Jan 15, 2008

    Godbless, I agree with you, I too live in Henderson and I knew it was only just a matter of time before some idiot got on here and started bashing Vance County when they probably don't even live here. Accidents happen every where you go, it does not matter where you live.

  • TexasKate Jan 15, 2008

    One thing about it, the only viable witness is dead. He can say whatever he wants. A 9mm is for one thing: to shoot humans. What in the name of God was he doing with it??

  • whatistheworldcomingto Jan 15, 2008

    When I first read this article, I thought, "HOW CAN HE BE CHARGED WITH 1ST DEGREE MURDER?!" Then I read and reread this story. This guy is only 23 years old, has a 3 year old child (nothing wrong with this), but is already a CONVICTED FELON? And now he has loaded guns at his home accessible to young children?! Sounds to me like he was just looking for trouble. I'm still having trouble getting around a convicted felon as a babysitter. Where is the mommy in this situation? I know in my heart that this guy didn't want anyone to get hurt, much less die. That being said, he deserves a stiff sentence that would ever make him think twice about putting innocent lives in this situation again.

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