Local News

Family: Elderly Harnett man befriended teen accused in his death

Posted July 28, 2011 9:58 a.m. EDT
Updated July 28, 2011 6:11 p.m. EDT

— An elderly Harnett County man had befriended and given work and money to an 18-year-old who is accused of killing him on Wednesday evening, relatives said Thursday.

Matthew Robert Fogleman, of 1263 Ernest Brown Road, faces a first-degree murder charge in the death of 82-year-old Andy Collins, who was found dead Wednesday evening inside his home at 1111 C.P. Stewart Road.

After seeing a car speed away and the gate to the home open, neighbor Curtis Salmon went to check on Collins, Salmon's son, Brad, said.

His father found the back door unlocked and then saw Collins, Salmon said.

"He could see him laying back in his recliner with blood on his shirt," Salmon said.

Collins, who lived alone, had apparently been stabbed in the chest, Salmon said. Authorities said Collins died shortly after sheriff's deputies and medical personnel arrived. His body was sent to the Office of the State Chief Medical Examiner for an autopsy.

Deputies said they found Collins' stolen 2011 Toyota Camry about an hour later on Le-Mar Lane in the Old Hundred Mobile Home Park, about five miles from the crime scene.

Investigators said Fogleman had a knife on him when he was arrested Thursday morning, but they haven't confirmed if that knife was the murder weapon.

Fogleman was charged with motor vehicle theft and possession of stolen motor vehicle, in addition to murder. He was placed in the Harnett County jail and denied bond.

Investigators said that Fogleman had cut Collins' grass and did other yard work for him, but they don't know a motive for the slaying.

"The only thing I can tell you, in my opinion, would be that maybe the kid came and tried to get some money from him," Collins' nephew, Jamie Patterson, said. "My uncle – knowing the type he is – he would have fed him and even carried him to get some groceries."

Collins let Fogleman go fishing in a lake in his backyard and gave him a credit card, on which he made a lot of charges, Patterson said.

"I've spoken to (Fogleman) a time or two across the yard. He looked like a normal kid to me," Patterson said.

He said Fogleman had gained the sympathy of his uncle, who was a veteran of the Korean and Vietnam wars.

"I think the kid told Mr. Collins he wanted to join the Army, and Mr. Collins had been a 23-year Army veteran, retired. That hit hard with him, and he was just trying to let him do some work," Patterson said, adding that his uncle gave Fogleman a ride to see an Army recruiter.

Collins twice ran for Harnett County sheriff in the 1970s. "I think he wanted to make a difference around here," Patterson said.

After his service in the Army, Collins managed car wash operations in Lillington and Dunn. His wife died of cancer years ago.

"He was a pillar of the community," Patterson said. "He was always at church. People adored him. He was a fine man."