A report on court proceedings in the murder of Anthony Giles (subscription required) in Friday’s edition of the Sanford Herald indicates that “it is unknown if the charges were dropped” against six people who were initially accused in the 2013 home invasion and killing:

In January 2014, the sheriff’s office originally arrested six Sanford residents in connection with the crimes: Phillip Howard Fortune, Jessica McCoy, Akil Mathew McAden, Franklin Dorsett, Wilbert Bruton and Travis “Jamarion” McLean. All were charged with first-degree murder, first-degree burglary, first-degree kidnapping, robbery with a dangerous weapon, possession of stolen goods and conspiracy to commit robbery. However, those six suspects no longer appear to have court dates on the calendar in Lee County Court and do not appear to have been convicted of the crime, according to the N.C. Department of Public Safety. It is unknown if charges were dropped.

The charges were, in fact, dropped. 18 months ago.

The Rant reported in February 2015 that charges of murder, burglary and kidnapping had been dismissed against Wilbert Bruton, Phillip Fortune, Akil McAden, Jessica McKoy, Franklin Dorsett, and Travis McLean because of “insufficient evidence at this time.” Documents on file at the Lee County Clerk of Court – which are available for public view – confirm the dismissals and are all signed by Lee County Assistant District Attorney Ray Pleasant.

wilbertbruton
Bruton discusses Giles with WRAL shortly after Giles’ murder. He was one of six people charged in the killing not long after, but the charges were ultimately dismissed for lack of evidence in February 2015.

The dismissals followed the December 2014 arrests of four New Hanover County men in connection with the crime, casting doubt on whether the six initially charged have any connection to the new suspects. The Herald’s Friday report is mostly focused on that second set of arrests.

Of the six people initially charged with the murder, one was the subject of the Rant’s first piece – also about the Giles murder – in 2014. But the question of whether any of them are still making their way through the court system on this case is settled. And it has been for some time.

 

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