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New Evidence May Be Behind Grand Jury's Review of Food Lion Beating

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RALEIGH — A Wake County grand jury has reopened a case involving the controversial beating death of a suspected thief. Last month the grand jury failed to indict the man witnesses say is responsible, but now they want to hear more evidence.

There's new evidence the grand jury never heard last month. A witness made a 9-1-1 call and told police he saw the Food Lion employee severely beating Jason Cort with a tree limb.

The district attorney believes publicity about this new information in the media convinced the grand jury to take a second look at the case.

Etta and Jean Anderson only have pictures to remember their grandson by 23-year-old Jason Cort died after a beating on May 9. No one has been held responsible. but now the grand jury has agreed to take a second look at the case.

"Praise the lord, something good may happen now to make things right," says Etta Anderson, Cort's grandmother.

"They can get to the bottom, find out what really happened, let justice take over," says Jean Anderson, Cort's grandfather.

Witnesses say Cort was beaten by a Food Lion employee, Daniel Rodburn, after Cort stole money from the cash register and ran. In July the grand jury refused to indict Rodburn, but in an unusual move, the grand jury has now asked the district attorney to hear more evidence in the case.

"The grand jury found out information that maybe didn't come to light in the first sitting, that they should look at the case again and determine whether or not their decision was appropriate," says Wake County District Attorney Colon Willoughby.

The Andersons admit that their grandson had some problems, but say he didn't deserve to die.

"I truly feel if Jason had lived he would have had to answer for what he did, and he needed that choice," says Etta Anderson.

Last month only the investigator spoke to the grand jury. This time, the grand jury has asked the district attorney to present five or six witnesses.

They could hear the case as early as August 17. Daniel Rodburn has not returned our repeated calls.