Local News

Selma Man Won't Face Charges in Pinned-Intruder Case

Posted December 10, 2007 8:48 a.m. EST
Updated December 11, 2007 11:43 a.m. EST

— A Selma man who said he accidentally killed an intruder who was on his property won't face charges, according to court documents and the Johnston County district attorney.

The grand jury returned a "not a true presentment" of involuntary manslaughter in the case of John Reid, who said he was trying to block two men from leaving his property on Nov. 8, when he accidentally hit the gas pedal of his pickup truck.

Authorities said Reid's pickup struck the intruders' car, which pinned Cornelius Brown between it and a fence. Brown died the next day at a hospital.

A presentment directs the district attorney whether to investigate the allegations in the case and then submit a bill of indictment to the grand jury. Because the grand jury returned a "not a true presentment," there will be no bill of indictment, Johnston County District Attorney Susan Doyle said.

"I appreciate the grand jury's careful consideration and respect their decision in this case," Doyle said.

Doyle said last month that she was turning the case over to the grand jury because of the unusual facts and complex legal issues associated with it.

Reid had no comment Monday on the grand jury's decision.

Brown's sister, Nannette Brown, however, said she and her family were upset and disappointed that Reid would not face charges.

“This man literally crushed my brother to death with his truck,” Brown said, adding she does not believe the grand jury heard all the facts in the case.

“If there was such thing as a robbery, does the law give you the right to take the law into your own hands and run a person down and murder them with your vehicle?" she asked. "A person with no weapon, [when] your life is not threatened – you cannot do that.”

Reid said his property had been burglarized several times in recent months. Investigators found a piece of machinery belonging to Reid into the back of the suspects' car.

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