Murder Suspect Released to Family
One of two teenagers indicted for a Robbins street corner murder has been released to the custody of his family.
The Moore County grand jury indicted two Robbins youths, Michael Lee Stidham Jr., 18, and Briant Andrew McKinney, 16, in the March 31 murder of Tomas Pascual. McKinney's brother, 17-year-old Trae Bradley McKinney, and their mother and stepfather, Tara Lynette Reynolds, 34, and Benjamin Allen Reynolds III, 35, were indicted on charges of being accessories after the fact.
Both Stidham and Briant McKinney had been brought from the Moore County jail to the court Wednesday afternoon for administrative hearings before Senior Resident Superior Court Judge James M. Webb.
District Attorney Maureen Krueger presented an arrangement under which Briant McKinney would be released to the custody of his maternal grandparent and said evidence showed he was not the shooter.
"He was a passenger," she told Webb. "There had been an altercation earlier that day. Two groups set out, one to get warrants from a magistrate and another to get a gun. It does appear he (Briant McKinney) was a passenger. Mr. Stidham owned the gun. Mr. Stidham owned the car. Mr. Stidham was the driver. The gun was fired out the driver's window."
Briant McKinney's younger brother was also a passenger, riding in the back seat, according to Krueger.
"This is currently an undifferentiated murder charge," his attorney Arthur Donadio said. "He has no priors. He has been in special ed classes his entire school career. Based on witness statements -- witnesses both on the street and in the car -- it becomes clear Mr. McKinney did not shoot Mr. Pascual. He did not know anybody was going to shoot him."
Meanwhile, a decision on whether the state will try Stidham for capital murder has been postponed.
For more on this story, see Friday's print edition of The Pilot.
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