Local News

Four Oaks gunshot victim found dead; stepson charged

Posted November 19, 2014 11:50 a.m. EST
Updated November 19, 2014 5:54 p.m. EST

— Johnston County sheriff's deputies on Wednesday found the body of a man who authorities say they believe was shot by his stepson in Four Oaks earlier this week.

Sheriff Steve Bizzell said Gilbert Ray Stanley, 62, was found around 2:15 p.m. near the Blackmon's Crossroads community. He would not say how authorities found the body, only that he received information that led searchers to it.

Stanley had been missing since Monday night, when deputies responded sometime after 9:45 p.m. to a report of a shooting at 8068-B Stricklands Crossroads Road.

When they arrived, however, they found only blood on the ground and no sign of Stanley or his stepson, Brandon Lee Slade.

A neighbor had been at the home earlier in the evening, investigators said, and found Slade with a gun and Stanley on the ground.

Bizell would not confirm whether Stanley had been shot.

The sheriff's office and crews with the North Carolina State Highway Patrol, Wake County Sheriff's Office, Raleigh Fire Department, Fayetteville Police Department and Johnston County Emergency Services spent Tuesday and Wednesday searching for Stanley by air and by foot.

Deputies found him in some woods near Thomas Road and N.C. Highway 96, about 5 miles from where the neighbor heard the gunshots.

"I can't say the things I really want to say," Stanley's sister, Kathie Stanley, said Wednesday afternoon. "I'm just glad they found my brother's body."

It has been sent to the North Carolina Office of the Chief Medical Examiner in Raleigh for an autopsy.

Meanwhile, Slade, 37, was in jail Wednesday under a $500,000 bond on charges of assault with a deadly weapon with intent to kill and possession of a firearm in violation of a domestic violence protective order.

"We're in the process of charging Brandon Slade with the murder of Gilbert Stanley," Bizzell said. "We have not determined a motive yet. The investigation is ongoing."

Sheriff's deputies arrested Slade after he surrendered sometime late Tuesday morning after he approached them at a staging area set up for authorities investigating the shooting.

He told a WRAL News crew minutes before being taken into custody that he wasn't sure why authorities might be looking for him.

"So far, it's violating a restraining order or something. I don’t know," he said before approaching deputies.

Although investigators haven't determined what might have prompted the shooting, Kathie Stanley said Slade is involved in a custody dispute with family members over his 7-year-old son who had been staying with Gilbert Stanley and his wife.

"I could guess the rest of my life, but I don't know for sure," she said. "It's something that's been building for a while."