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Family, police seek justice in 2005 quadruple homicide

Posted November 19, 2010

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— Five years since since four men were shot to death execution-style inside a Durham townhouse, police are still looking for suspects, and family members are awaiting justice.

Juan Coleman, 27, Jamel Holloway, 27, Lennis Harris Jr., 24, and Jonathan Skinner, 26, were each shot in the head and killed in a second-floor bedroom at 2222 Alpine Road on Nov. 19, 2005. Two other men were injured.

Harris was cousins with Skinner and roommates with Coleman.

Harris' mother, Marsha, said that five years has tempered her grief, but she hasn't gotten past the pain.

"There are times it's just like it's happened," she said. "I can see a young man on the street, dressed in something my son would have worn, and for that instant, it'll make me cry."

Rodrick Vernard Duncan, 31, was indicted in October 2006 on four counts of first-degree murder, one count of attempted murder and one count of attempted robbery in the case. He is awaiting trial.

Police, however, are still seeking leads. Witnesses saw three men running from the area after they heard gunshots.

One was described as a black man with a light complexion, 6 feet to 6 feet 2 inches tall and weighing 180 pounds. He was wearing dark jeans and a black and white jacket.

The second man was described as black, with a stocky build, 5 feet 10 inches tall and weighing 200 pounds. He was wearing a burgundy flight jacket and jeans. The third man was described as black, with a medium complexion, 5 feet 10 inches tall and weighing 170 pounds. He was wearing a black flight jacket and blue jeans.

"If the right people came forward, we could probably close this case tomorrow," Police Chief Jose Lopez said.

Investigators have said the slayings took place during a drug-related robbery. Lopez said that although fear and intimidation can prevent people from coming forward, they should feel able to trust the police.

Quadruple murder remains unsolved Quadruple murder remains unsolved

"Eventually, individuals are going to realize that there is no need for them to be tossing and turning at night," Lopez said. "They're going to step up and do the right thing."

Family members have disputed their sons' involvement with drugs. They worry that the mention of drugs has led to apathy about the crime in the community.

Relatives of the victims will hold a silent march at Durham police headquarters Friday night.

Until all the suspects are arrested, relatives said, the community should be as anxious as they are.

"When I go to the gas station, I don't know if the killer is pumping gas beside me," Marsha Harris said.

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  • Melchizedek Nov 19, 2010

    "@ bronzegolden I agree with you on the fact that if the men were white it would have been a whole different opinion by many."

    Perhaps but generally when one hears "execution style" they automatically think drugs rather than race.

    Still, am so sorry for these families. Not knowing keeps the wounds open.

    I hope the one(s) who did this are found soon or they may well do this again one day.

  • lb27608 Nov 19, 2010

    "durham crime index is 4. Safe number is 100. I'd say it's pretty close to crime capital. Please enlighten us on which city is? you can compare. http://www.bestplaces.net/crime/"

    I use the FBI Uniform Crime Reports. Based on 2008 data for violent crime exclusively (since that's what your other post seems to focus on), we have the following rates per 100,000 people: Rocky Mount (1279), Wilmington (802), Greensboro (766), Winston-Salem (752), Fayetteville (729), Charlotte (723), Durham (699).

    I stand by my original statement: Durham is far from the crime capital of NC. Among the cities over 100,000 in population, it's actually one of the safest for violent crime. Only High Point (654), Raleigh (492) and Cary (98) have lower violent crime rates. Rocky Mount is in the list, even though it has less than 60,000 residents, just to serve as a more extreme example.

    http://www2.fbi.gov/ucr/cius2009/data/table_08_nc.html

  • chellechelle2007 Nov 19, 2010

    @ bronzegolden I agree with you on the fact that if the men were white it would have been a whole different opinion by many. Crime and drugs does not just exist in the black neighborhoods!! @ boatrokr I am sorry for your loss I too have lost a brother due to that and have been hit by a drunk driver myself and i'm lucky to be alive. I was just using it as an example as to in other circumstances would people be so quick to judge these young men. And I said that is what I believe that it is god's will when you leave this earth. Everybody has their own opinion and that is mine!!

  • rebecca7 Nov 19, 2010

    @ boatrokr, the term closure in these situations is meant to have a final answer and know that the people responsible for the situation have been brought to justice (at least in this world). The "not knowing" is very hard on families that have lost loved ones (me included). Although I see you're point - it's just a way of getting to the "end of the process" and knowing that there is someone paying for the crime. The pain remains, but does get easier over time... it's the unanswered questions that tend to remain and eat at your. My loss was my fiance dying of cancer at the age of 24... so my closure had to come within myself - no one to blame... but these people will feel some relief once they know who is responsible for such a disgusting act. And that's what I - personally - meant by closure.

  • rebecca7 Nov 19, 2010

    I agree with you, bronzegoddess40.

    I hope they find the scum that did this and these families can find some closure. Such a heartbreaking thing to bury such young people.

  • bronzegoddess40 Nov 19, 2010

    I'm just wondering. Ian Davis was shot and killed in Durham in 2002 while he was spending the night at friend's house. It was said that he was the wrong place at the wrong time. This could be said for these young men in this situation too. From what I understand, these young men grew up in good homes and were college graduates. All people make mistakes and misjudgements because unfortunately that is part of growing up. I truly feel that many of the negative comments such as being animals, gangbangers, etc are being fueled because they are black. I doubt the same would said if they had been four white young men. RIP young men and I am praying for your families and that they will find your killers and punish them accordingly.

  • JustOneGodLessThanU Nov 19, 2010

    One that is guaranteed...friends and/or family members know something that will help the police. They may even know the perps personally.

    You'd think 4 deaths would over-ride the "no snitchin" mantra, but here were are...five years later. I mean, someone might go to prison and we've gotta keep them safe from "the man".

  • boatrokr Nov 19, 2010

    Please stop using that asinine word "closure" in relation to murder victims and their families. Believe me - there is no such thing. Closure means that this is over and done with and everything is fine.

    To a person below. My brother WAS killed by a drunk driver, and I do NOT believe it was "God's will" that he be born and someone could run over him and kill him when he reached the age of eleven, nor do I believe that these men were "destined by God" to be in that apartment on that day so they could be shot.

    That's as hateful a suggestion as "they deserved it."

  • KwaziMojo Nov 19, 2010

    blasernj - your analogy falls apart because corn is legal.

    But I salute your valiant effort to excuse run away illegal behavior and your defense of a culture that values criminality - nothing can ever go wrong with that, right?

  • blasernj Nov 19, 2010

    Death-row-i-feel-your-pain-NOT:

    I agree it is naive to suggest these young men didn't know anything about drugs being involved. However, you have to realize not everyone comes from the environment you've known and grown up in. In some areas, drugs are so woven into the fabric of daily life that it is just unrealistic to suggest that someone have nothing to do with them. In this sort of situation it is impossible to have no friends related to drugs and never set foot in a house where drugs are present. It is not like the suburbs or rural areas where there are certain groups that have drugs and you get caught up in those groups. In these areas, there are drugs everywhere. Its like telling someone who grows up in Iowa to try not to have nothing to do with corn.

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