Local News

Grand Jury to Hear Pinned Intruder Case

Posted November 20, 2007 11:37 a.m. EST
Updated November 20, 2007 5:05 p.m. EST

— Prosecutors will send a case to the grand jury to determine whether a Selma man should face charges for allegedly pinning a suspected thief between a car and a fence and killing him.

District Attorney Susan Doyle said Tuesday that because of the unusual facts of the case and the complex legal issues involved, she thought it was best for the grand jury to decide whether John Reid should face criminal charges.

"Based upon the case, as I've reviewed it, there is no better body … to review this case and consider all the evidence and determine collectively whether the homeowner's actions in this case rose to the level of a crime or whether they were, in fact, justified under the law," Doyle said.

The grand jury convenes Dec. 10, when Doyle expects to present the case.

Sheriff's investigators said Reid pulled into the driveway of his home as two men were trying to leave his residence on Nov. 8. He told authorities he tried to block their path with his pickup truck and mistakenly hit the gas pedal as Cornelius Brown tried to get out of the car and run.

Brown, whose head was pinned, was taken to Duke University Hospital, where he died the next morning.

Brown's sister, Nanette Brown, said she and her family hope the grand jury will give the case a fair look. They want to know exactly what happened to her brother and why.

"What was so detrimental that day that you had to crush a person to death with your truck?" she said.

"Whatever the normal criteria is for someone that takes a life, a wrongful death – whatever the punishment is for that, that's what Mr. Reid should receive," she said.

Another man, Mark Ray McNair, 46, of Dudley, was charged with trespassing and larceny in connection with the incident.

Reid said his property had been burglarized three times in recent months and that he had about $6,000 in equipment for his lawn care business on the property.

Investigators found a piece of machinery belonging to Reid into the back of the suspects' car.

This is not the first time a grand jury has heard a case in which a homeowner has wounded a suspected intruder.

Last year, it declined to indict, Randle Holmes, 62, who shot a would-be intruder as the teen drove away in the middle of the night.