Local News

Two Suspects Denied Bond In Murder Of Franklinton Man; Another Gets Leniency

Posted March 5, 2004 4:17 a.m. EST

— A judge refused to allow bond for two suspects in connection with the shooting death of a Franklinton man found floating in the Eno River. A third suspect received leniency and a tongue-lashing from the judge.

Durham police arrested Matthew Taylor, 16, and Shelton Epps, 21, both of Lazy River Drive, and Derrick Maiden, 18, of Hummingbird Lane on Thursday.

The three are charged with murder in the death of Sean Owen, 23 of Franklinton.

Police say the three brutally beat Owen, shot him twice in the head and then dumped his body in the Eno River. Owen's body was found floating in the river near Old Farm Park on Feb. 21.

During their first court appearance Friday, Judge Jim Hill denied bond for Epps and Maiden.

Taylor's mother and grandfather asked the judge for consideration, saying the 16-year-old Northern High School football player had never been in trouble before.

"He's a good child. He really is. Like I said, it was the wrong people, wrong time," said Karen Taylor, Matthew's mother.

The judge set Taylor's bond at $500,000 and gave him a lecture.

"I don't know if you did this or not, but I bet you that if you listened to [your family], you wouldn't be sitting here today, you'd be sitting in your second- or third-period class at Northern High School," Hill said.

If Taylor's bond is posted, he will be released to the custody of his mother and grandparents. He will only be allowed to leave his home to go to and from school.

Investigators say robbery was the motive for the shooting and believe Owen was lured to Durham through an Internet chat line.

Investigators say that Owen was killed Feb. 17 in Old Farm Park near where his body was found.

On Feb. 22, Owen's abandoned car was left burning on Shepherd Street in Durham's West End neighborhood. Police immediately began canvassing the area, talking to neighbors. Investigators say they began building their case against the suspects that night.

Taylor's coach said the junior varsity football player has been suspended, pending the murder case. Some of Taylor's friends were surprised about the news of Taylor's arrest.

"I've known him about two years, played football with him and he's a great athlete," junior Grant Heron said. [I've] hung out with him a couple of times in the neighborhood, and I'm just totally surprised."

The three suspects have another court appearance scheduled next month.