Local News

Teens charged in break-ins were on pre-trial release

Posted May 19, 2009
Updated May 20, 2009

— Two Durham teenagers arrested last week in a home break-in in Orange County were both in a pre-trial release program at the time of the alleged crime.

durham Teens accused of break-ins were being monitored

Maurice Patterson, 17, of 1817 East Greer St., Durham, and Darrius Tyson, 17, 5214 Kurley Road, Durham, were arrested Thursday and charged with breaking into three homes over the past two months.

Tyson was charged with two counts of breaking and entering, one count of larceny and one count of possession of a stolen firearm. Patterson was charged with three counts of breaking and entering and two counts of larceny.

When Orange County officers took Patterson and Tyson into custody, they were wearing electronic ankle bracelets and were being monitored by Durham County because of similar charges there.

"You know, they put this little thing on his ankle, but he still did everything he wanted to do," Patterson's aunt, Diann McCrea, said.

McCrea said that under the pre-trial release program, her nephew was on electronic house arrest but was allowed out of the house during the day to attend school or work, yet did neither.

"No one came by during the day to see what he was doing," she said. "I asked what he was doing when he left in the morning. He said trying to get in school, but that's what he said. And no one kept track of what he was doing during the day."

According to the pre-trial agreements, Patterson and Tyson had a curfew, were supposed to have regular contact with their case managers, stay in school and have no contact with one another.

"They did not appear to pose a risk to the public, for public safety, and they both had stable residences," said Gudron Parmer, director of Durham County's Criminal Justice Resource Center, which oversees the pre-trial release program there.

Parmer said participants in the pretrial release program are recommended by the courts and are screened carefully. Most of them comply with their guidelines.

From July 2007 through June 2008, 70 percent of those in the program successfully completed it. Eleven percent faced additional charges while enrolled, and 13 percent failed to comply with the program.

Judges admit there is a chance they will re-offend, especially if they are not being monitored closely.

Tyson had six outstanding felony charges in Durham County from earlier this year and was due in court next month on those charges. Patterson had seven pending felony charges prior to the program. None of the charges were for violent crimes, but several were breaking and entering charges.

Durham Chief District Judge Elaine Bushfan approved Patterson for the program. District Judge Marcia Morey approved Tyson.

Because the cases are still pending neither judge would speak specifically about the cases. Bushfan said any general comments she made about the pre-trial release program could be construed in the context of the story as speaking about the specific case.

Speaking in general, Morey said she believes pre-trial release makes sense for non-violent offenders.

"Pre-trial is a pretty good tool for courts to use with overcrowded jails," she said.

Morey said when considering pre-trial release, judges take into account everything, including the suspect's age, record and home life.

"Do we worry? Of course we worry," she said. "We're part of the community. But there are very specific steps that we go through to try to weigh the risk and the benefit," she said. "Hindsight is 20/20. Sometimes, it will not work, but the majority of times, I think, it has been a very good program."

Both men have now had their pre-trial release status revoked due to the new charges in Orange County.


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  • mustangyts May 21, 2009

    We need to address the CULTURE that our kids have absorbed. Criminals are the most popular guys out there. They have money, don't work and nothing really ever happens to them. Our wonderful federal govenment has created these monsters and now we are reaping what we sowed. Like I said before, the kids that survived the depression, went on to fight WW2 and built a great nation. No excues for poverty or lack of education, they just got it done. Its all about culture and morals.

  • Milkman May 21, 2009

    I know a lot of Durham PD officers and they continually say it does so little good to arrest anyone, the courts put them back on the street within hours. The courts need to make these officers WRONG, and the family is to blame as well.

    If there are not enough people to monitor these people, then fewer should be freed on these programs. The court system that allowed this to happen is almost as guilty as these kids.

  • james27613 May 20, 2009

    These young men are very lucky they were not shot and killed during their home invasion crime spree.

    Watch the wral video, two of them are smiling, they are
    the wearing the pretrial release monitor devices.

    All should be charged for having the stolen firearm that was
    fired during one of the home invasions.

    Time for NC to get tough on firearm crimes,
    new laws needed, mandatory 12 years hard time if you use a firearm in a crime in NC, no plea, no deals, no cable tv, just 12 years solid time to run consecutive not concurrent.

    So how about is NC Legislature, are you up to the task ?

  • affirmativediversity May 20, 2009

    "...Most of them comply with their guidelines."

    How do they know that, if they are not truly monitoring what they are doing?

    What he should have said is, "Most are not CAUGHT committing another crime while we are looking the other way."

  • mark8360 May 20, 2009

    There was a lot of discussion after Eve Carson's Murder regarding Burglary criminals being more likely to be involved in violent crimes. I don't know the stats .. but if someone will kick in a door and enter someone else's house - I think they need to be treated more strictly by the courts. Longer sentences and higher bails. Go to http://www.neighborhoodprotector.com/ and look at all of the B&E's .. everyday!

  • HanginTough May 20, 2009

    Tolip - LMAO!

    There is no personal responsibility these days - not in a setting where "everyone" walks around thinking somebody owes them something - I think we OWE them MANY MANY MANY nights in JAIL - with only bread-water and no TV and hard MANUAL LABOR EVERYDAY!

  • LibertarianTechie May 20, 2009

    Here goes an idea...between arrest and final verdict, keep them in prison. And then, if found innocent, let them free.

  • tiblet May 20, 2009

    believe me...I am a firm believer that if you do the crime...you do the time...but I also wonder...does anyone love these boys?

  • JustOneGodLessThanU May 20, 2009

    Oppression, bigotry and discrimination KEEP people poor, because they end up with less opportunity and, therefore, less will to succeed.

    mustangytsk, you make some good points, but most of WV has less wealth disparity and cross-cultural oppression. (Who would they steal from?) So, what "culture" are you referring to? Is there some group of people have an entire culture, handed down from generation to generation, where they eschew education, embrace drug use & sale, breed without thought and commit violent crimes? Do you think those are the "values" of a certain people? Could these be the value of anyone who is uneducated, superstitious and poor, living nextdoor to the rich & successful and watching the world pass them by? I'm not saying that I know what they're going through, but I'm trying. :-)

  • turdferguson May 20, 2009

    "Make people feel inferior & oppressed or keep them poor...and you've got a demographic for crime."

    How do you keep somebody poor? I wasn't aware I was preventing anyone from going to the same public schools where I received my education. Is it possible the parents are at fault for breeding when they had no intentions of raising them? Of course not, it's my fault for keeping a group of people poor.