Local News

Grand Jury Hears Deputy Shooting Case Again

Posted July 9, 2007 4:14 p.m. EDT
Updated July 9, 2007 8:23 p.m. EDT

— A New Hanover County grand jury began hearing evidence Monday in the case of a former deputy who killed a Durham teen in December during a botched raid.

The hearing is expected to continue Tuesday.

Peyton Strickland, 18, a Cape Fear Community College student from Durham, was shot to death at his Wilmington home on Dec. 1 by deputies serving arrest and search warrants. Strickland and two friends were charged with assaulting a University of North Carolina at Wilmington student in November and stealing two PlayStation 3 consoles from him.

UNC-W police asked for support from the New Hanover County Sheriff's Office during the arrests of the suspects in the case because of the potential that they were armed and dangerous, authorities said. Nine heavily armed deputies accompanied UNC-W police to Strickland's home to serve the warrants.

Three deputies fired shots into the home, and evidence showed some shots were fired before Strickland opened the door. Strickland, who was unarmed, died of a gunshot wound to the head.

Cpl. Christopher Long, 34, was fired by the New Hanover County Sheriff's Office a week after the shooting and was later indicted on a charge of second-degree murder in connection with the shooting.

But the murder charge was dismissed a day after the indictment was returned. The foreman of the grand jury said he checked the wrong box on the indictment form and that members of the grand jury didn't find enough evidence to charge Long with murder.

New Hanover County District Attorney Ben David turned the case over to the state Attorney General's Office and the State Bureau of Investigation in February, saying he wanted to avoid the appearance of a vendetta against the former deputy or a cover-up.

Long was called to testify before the grand jury and is expected to continue answering questions Tuesday.