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Benson slaying suspect found hiding in closet

Benson police said they found the suspect in a January slaying hiding in a closet Wednesday afternoon.

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James Alexander Graham
FOUR OAKS, N.C. — Benson police said they found the suspect in a January slaying hiding in a closet Wednesday afternoon.

James Alexander Graham, 27, of Dunn, was wanted on a first-degree murder charge in the Jan. 20 shooting death of Montay Lashawn Murphy, 20. Murphy was shot three times in Coats Circle Apartments, off North Honeycutt Street.

Lt. Greg Percy said that Graham was found Wednesday hiding inside a closet in a home at 323 N. Baker St. in Four Oaks. He and another man at the house – Roderick Jerome Johnson, 23, of Bunnlevel – were arrested without incident.

Investigators searched for over three weeks for Graham, with the help of state, federal and other local agencies, Percy said.

"Many hours and miles were spent attempting to apprehend him," he said in a statement. "We also hope that our community and the friends and family of Montay Murphy can gain some comfort from this arrest and begin to heal from this tragic situation."

Graham was placed in the Johnston County jail and denied bond. In connection with the shooting, he also faces two counts each of attempted first-degree murder and shooting into an occupied building.

Johnson was charged with felony harboring a fugitive. He was being held in the Johnston County jail under a $500,000 secured bond.

Two other people were arrested the day after the shooting. Leslie Dyan Baker, 21, of Smithfield, and Quentine Mondarus Morrisey, 22, of Four Oaks, face one count of accessory after the fact to first-degree murder and two counts each of accessory after the fact to attempted first-degree murder and accessory after the fact to shooting into an occupied dwelling.

Graham was an absconder from probation at the time of the shooting, according to state Department of Correction records. His criminal record includes 11 felony convictions involving drug dealing and possession.

Morrisey's criminal record, dating to 2004, includes convictions for larceny of firearms, possession of a firearm by a felon and breaking-and-entering, DOC records state. Johnson has a single previous conviction for felony breaking-and-entering.


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