Grand Jury Rejects Indictment in Food Lion Murder Case
Posted August 30, 1998 7:00 a.m. EDT
RALEIGH — A Cary family says their son was a victim of vigilante justice but for a second time, a Wake County grand jury disagreed. Police say 23-year old Jason Cort robbed a Food Lion last May, was chased down by a store employee, and beaten to death.
This story began at the Food Lion on Avent Ferry Road back in May, and now almost four months and two grand jury hearings later, there is still no indictment, no conviction and no closure for the family.
Prosecutors used a 911 call they thought would help convince a grand jury to indict. But, jurors for the second time decided not to send the case to trial.
"In this case, and I don't want to speculate about why they did what they did, but there was not enough evidence to say there was voluntary manslaughter," said Assistant District Attorney Craig Croom.
Police say Jason Cort got away with $130 from a Food Lion cash register before employees chased him down and began beating him with a tree limb. The Wake County Medical Examiner says the blows to his head killed Cort. But the grand jury decided not to indict Food Lion employee Daniel Abram Rodburn on a voluntary manslaughter charge.
Jason Cort's family says their son was beaten to death for no reason. They still want to see someone pay for a crime they say was senseless.
"We have not pushed for the maximum charge against Daniel Rodburn," said Jason's father, Steve Cort. "We wanted a day in court. We wanted someone to rule that what he did was inappropriate."
The District Attorney's office hasn't given up yet. At the request of this last grand jury, prosecutors plan to try again for an indictment on the lesser charge of involuntary manslaughter. If that doesn't happen, the family may consider a civil suit. andKerrie Hudzinski