Authorities say three intruders bullied their way into a Nash County home last August. Deputies say they shot Kenneth Keen, but he was able to fight back. His 73-year-old mother, Mattie Keen, was shot and killed in the crossfire. At first, deputies charged the suspects with Keen's murder.
Now, deputies say the gunshot was not from the suspects' weapon.
"During the investigation, we found that it was an accidental shooting from the son that was the cause of death," Nash County Sheriff Jimmy Grimes said.
As a result, authorities say murder charges against Orlando Faison, Cedric Ellis and Terro Ward will be dropped.
"This lady's life would not have been taken no matter what, if it hadn't been for their act of breaking into the house and trying to hurt somebody. They came to the farm and began shooting," Grimes said.
Keith Werner, the local prosecutor in Nash County, said the district attorney's office is also frustrated with this case. After doing their own research, they went to state legal authorities and were told there is not way to justify a murder charge.
The three men are still charged with shooting Kenneth, and they all face murder charges for a beating death that same day in Greene County. Johnnie West alleges the suspects broke into his home and killed his older brother, Clarence, before they drove to Nash County.
If the men are indicted in Greene County, a jury there will decide if the men are guilty. The three suspects are still charged with attempted murder, burglary and assault in Nash County.