Local News

Father Charged With Murder in Girl's Shooting Death

Posted January 15, 2008 10:51 a.m. EST
Updated January 15, 2008 9:18 p.m. EST

— A Henderson man faces a first-degree murder charge in a shooting death that Henderson police said they believe was an accident

Charges against Demario Thomas, 23, were changed Tuesday after the victim, 11-year-old Danielle Terry, died. Thomas was in the Vance County Jail Tuesday being held without bond.

The shooting happened late Monday afternoon at the Henderson Heights apartments while Thomas was apparently babysitting his 3-year-old daughter and her cousin, Terry, police said.

Lt. Charles Pulley said Thomas told investigators one of them got a hold of a 9 mm handgun and that Thomas was trying to get it away from the child when the gun went off.

A bullet struck his daughter in the hand and then Terry in the chest, authorities said. Terry later died at Duke University Hospital in Durham.

The 3-year-old, whose name wasn't released, was listed in good condition Tuesday afternoon at Maria Parham Medical Center in Henderson.

Terry's mother, Catina Thomas, said Tuesday she had no reason to believer he daughter was in any danger.

"I miss my baby so much, and I just want to know what happened," Catina Thomas said.

Pulley said investigators do not think Thomas meant for the shooting to occur, but they will continue to question witnesses.

Because he is a convicted felon for robbery and was in possession of the gun, authorities have to charge him with first-degree murder.

"He was actually committing a felony at the time, being in possession of the firearm," Pulley said.

Thomas was initially charged with two counts of assault with a deadly weapon inflicting serious injury, possession of a firearm by a convicted felon and storing a firearm in a manner accessible to a minor.