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Family wants justice for man who died in fire

Posted April 1, 2011
Updated April 2, 2011

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— Carlton Rudd's death in June 2010 was murder, the medical examiner says. He was living in Henderson with a woman and her son when the house they shared at 3100 N.C. Highway 158 Business caught fire.

Ethel Watson, 54, and her son, Anthony Watson, 36, got out. Rudd did not. The Vance County Sheriff's Office determined the fire had been intentionally set and arrested the Watsons for murder and arson.

But the Vance County District Attorney's office decided the case against the Watsons wasn't strong enough. Assistant DA Bill Griffin wrote, "The charges against the Watsons were dismissed, but the investigation remains open. There's a possibility that charges could be filed in the future."

Family waits for justice for fire victim Family waits for justice for fire victim

While the sheriff's office pursues additional leads, Rudd's family pushes for justice and struggles with their loss.

"Carlton would want us to fight the good fight for him. He would want us to don't give up," said his sister, Shrounda Riddick.

The family has organized a vigil and walk in memory of Rudd, and they have gathered 300 signatures on a petition they plan to share with the DA's office.

Riddick said, "Carlton is truly missed." She said the family was devastated when the charges against the Watson's were dropped.

Sheriff Peter White says solving Rudd's death remains a priority for his investigators.


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