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Mother of stabbed student wants Durham magistrate removed

Posted April 27, 2011

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— The mother of a Northern High School student who was stabbed last month has filed a complaint against a Durham County magistrate, saying he set a low bond for the suspect in the case.

Kenya Newell asked in the complaint that Magistrate Sam Biers be removed for "multiple violations of the Code of Judicial Conduct while in office."

Biers denied any wrongdoing on Wednesday. Chief District Court Judge Marcia Morey, who oversees magistrates in Durham, was reviewing the complaint and declined to comment.

The stabbing happened in a hallway at Northern High before classes started on March 24.

Jonathan Newell, 17, was stabbed in the upper torso and had to undergo emergency surgery.

According to his mother, he was still in surgery while the student charged in the case was released on the $5,000 bond Biers set in the case.

Eric Tyrone Prince Jr., 16, of 625 Martin St., is charged with assault with a deadly weapon and having a weapon on school grounds.

Durham County Detention Facility Mother of stabbed student wants Durham magistrate removed

Kenya Newell said Prince admitted to investigators that he had brought a knife to school for the sole purpose of stabbing her son.

Biers told Kenya Newell that a $5,000 bond was "the highest amount he gives," she said.

Morey told WRAL News previously that the charges Prince faced usually result in a bond of at least $30,000, but the amount of any bond is up to the discretion of a magistrate.

Biers, who was named a magistrate in January, said he never spoke with Kenya Newell on the phone. He says he couldn't comment specifically about the case since it's under investigation, but he said bond is to ensure a defendant shows up for court, which is what he considers in setting any bond.

Kenya Newell also alleged in her complaint that Biers was chuckling throughout their conversation and that she felt her concerns weren't being taken seriously.

"At the very least, we expect them to be courteous and not to be smirking or laughing or viewing this as not serious, particularly for a mother whose child has just been stabbed and is undergoing surgery," said the Newells' attorney, Thomas Davis.

If Morey determines the complaint is valid, it would be up to Superior Court Judge Orlando Hudson to remove Biers.

45 Comments

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  • gpcatgirl May 2, 2011

    I think the mother should find out the real reason why this boy felt the need to do this. I am guessing that the comments about the other boy being bullied is true and that is why he did what he did. We can raise our childern the best we know how but that doesn't mean they are going to turn out the way we would like them too.

  • BluAmazon Apr 29, 2011

    Maybe there are things about this case we don't know...such as what started the 'fight'. I would not jump to conclusions.

  • thehardway Apr 28, 2011

    Get used to the low bonds, I know of defendants that walk out of jail right behind the officer that arrested them. The magistrates are all different. If it would have been in Johnston Co. his bond would have been $100,000. There needs to be consistent bonds all across the state.

  • tritonlm6 Apr 28, 2011

    That bond is absurdly low. But...we live in a society that caters to criminals, deliquents and x-cons (including parole absconders).

  • nything25 Apr 28, 2011

    I have to agree with the mother on this one, $5,000 is way too small a bond to have on a child that committed premeditated assault, possibly with intent to kill. With crimes this violent, it's a wonder they set a bond at all. It's a felony committed without provocation, lock the kid down in Juvie.

  • beachboater Apr 28, 2011

    If what was said about the accused being a special needs individual, and the victim is guilty of bullying is true, well, that just puts a much different face on this situation.

    I would have hoped that someone who wasn't afraid of the bully would have stepped in, but that didn't happen.

    IF THE statement about bullying and special needs IS TRUE, then the bond may have been set too high rather than too low.

    Anyone guilty of bullying a special needs child is a low life.

  • this is fdup Apr 27, 2011

    sorry a bond set too low or too high is not cause for removal from office as this person wants.This is why we have bond hearings

  • The2ruthHurts Apr 27, 2011

    Let me say this, we as parents need to know that we raise our children to be productive individuals, but when it comes to those children that tease or humiliate others and they retaliate what can you do. The school system should have program were bullying should be addressed because it happens a lot. Kids are tired of coming to school getting picked on and nothing being done at school. I not saying stabbing is the answer but this is what happens when a child feels singled out and Administration is not they to support them. Parents its getting hard in schools these days. Pray for our children. School is not what it use to be. Pressure is all around them more than you know. Sorry for the boys on both sides. Remember there are two sides to every story.

    As far as the bullying that goes on in schools-bring back corporal punishment. Uncomfortable pain for unacceptable behavior.

  • batcave Apr 27, 2011

    N.C. I might politely suggest that you you some remedial research on our judicial system before posting YOU may need to do the same.

    Superior Court is divided into eight divisions and 46 districts across the state. Every six months, Superior Court judges rotate among the districts within their division. The rotation system helps avoid favoritism that might result from having a permanent judge in one district.

  • dimpleskh23 Apr 27, 2011

    Let me say this, we as parents need to know that we raise our children to be productive individuals, but when it comes to those children that tease or humiliate others and they retaliate what can you do. The school system should have program were bullying should be addressed because it happens a lot. Kids are tired of coming to school getting picked on and nothing being done at school. I not saying stabbing is the answer but this is what happens when a child feels singled out and Administration is not they to support them. Parents its getting hard in schools these days. Pray for our children. School is not what it use to be. Pressure is all around them more than you know. Sorry for the boys on both sides. Remember there are two sides to every story.

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