Local News

Chapel Hill man found guilty in 2008 execution-style slaying

Posted May 8, 2012 3:41 p.m. EDT
Updated May 9, 2012 8:55 a.m. EDT

— An Orange County jury on Tuesday found a Chapel Hill man guilty of first-degree murder in the July 2008 execution-style shooting death of 20-year-old Joshua McCabe Bailey.

Brian Gregory Minton, 22, was also found guilty of first-degree kidnapping, conspiracy to commit first-degree murder and conspiracy to commit murder.

The jury deliberated for more than six hours before reaching its verdicts Tuesday afternoon.

Superior Court Judge Orlando Hudson sentenced Minton to life in prison without the possibility of parole for the murder and 28 to 35 years to be served at the end of the life sentence for the other crimes.

"I've been a judge for 27 years, and this is as cold-blooded of a killing as I have seen," Hudson said.

‘A monstrous act’

Prosecutors argued during the trial that Minton was the ringleader of a group of friends that burglarized homes and sold stolen items for drugs and that he ordered Bailey killed after suspicions that he was helping police in an investigation of the group.

In July 2008, the group confronted Bailey in Minton's garage, restrained him, beat him and then drove him to a wooded area off Twisted Oak Drive in Orange County, where another man shot him in the back of the head.

Investigators say the group buried Bailey in a shallow grave and then, with the help of Minton's parents, moved his body several weeks later to an area near Jordan Lake.

Speaking to the court after the verdict, Bailey's parents called for the harshest penalty possible under state law.

"What the defendant did was a monstrous act, not just the murder but what was done after," Julie Bailey said. "It is a horror I will never be able to comprehend or come to terms with for the rest of my life."

Josh Bailey was found Sept. 12, 2008, and weeks later, nine people were indicted in the case.

"Their actions demonstrate that they placed no value on Josh's life," Julie Bailey said. "They treated his murder as though it were a casual affair, and I can't understand that."

‘Nightmares’

Bailey, who had been the subject of a statewide Silver Alert three weeks before his body was found, suffered from mental issues stemming from years of physical and mental abuse before the Bailey family adopted him.

After 13 years of treatment, Josh Bailey had come to a point in his life where he wanted to try living on his own, even though he knew he might fail, said his father, Steve Bailey. In the months before his death, Josh Bailey recognized his shortcomings and problems, Steve Bailey said, and had wanted help.

But then he disappeared.

”We barely remember anything from that time at all," Steve Bailey said. "Our lives have changed dramatically. I still have nightmares imagining Josh's last hours."

Josh Bailey loved adventure, sports and just about anything to do with the outdoors, his mother recalled.

He had been active in his church – "grooving with God," as he called it – and had continued to attend church and to seek guidance from his pastor after leaving home.

He was also learning to cook, Julie Bailey said, and had dreams of becoming a chef. He loved country music, too, and drove his family crazy trying to belt out tunes.

"I would give anything if I could hear him sing off-key again," she said. "The truth is, Josh did more things right. It was those few wrong things that put him in the wrong place at the wrong time with the wrong people."

The murder has taken its toll in other ways, too, Steve Bailey said.

He rarely sleeps through the night and still cries a lot. Josh Bailey's younger brother is still trying to come to terms with the crime.

"It's hard to live in the community where we often have to pass the place where Josh was killed," Steve Bailey said.

‘Great remorse’

Minton's defense attorney, James Glover, acknowledged during the trial that Minton was part of the group that killed Bailey but that Minton did not order his death. Minton's intention, Glover said, was to scare Bailey.

"I've probably spent more time with Brian Minton since his arrest than anyone in a position to talk to him about it," Glover said. "He has shown great remorse."

Minton, he said, had trouble staying on his medication for bipolar disorder and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder.

"From me and from Brian, I am so sorry about Josh. That is a shame," Glover said.

Orange County District Attorney Jim Woodall also asked Hudson for the harshest sentence possible.

Minton had previous convictions and was on supervised probation at the time of Bailey's death, the district attorney said.

"I believe Brian Minton is extremely dangerous. He is dangerous and will always be dangerous," Woodall said. "To ensure that this defendant never has the opportunity to harm anyone again, he should be in the department of correction for the rest of his natural life."