"The Red Springs Police Department’s chief and captain have been ordered to explain in court why a box of evidence related to the 1983 rape and murder of a Red Springs girl was not turned over to investigators until four years after it was initially requested. Chief Ronnie Patterson and Capt. Kevin Locklear were served with an order to show cause on April 17 and a hearing on the matter is tentatively scheduled for May 15 in Wayne County Superior Court. The order requires the men to show why the department should not be held in criminal contempt of court for not following judge’s orders, beginning in 2010, to turn over to the North Carolina Innocence Inquiry Commission any evidence related to Leon Brown or Henry McCollum, who were convicted in 1984 of raping and killing Sabrina Buie. While investigating a 2009 claim of innocence submitted by Brown, the commission found no physical evidence tying McCollum or Brown to Buie’s death, and after an evidentiary hearing in September, the half-brothers were released from prison, their convictions overturned. The murder charge against Brown had been previously dropped. According to an April 29 motion by the commission requesting the order to show cause, about $4,000 in rush fees were incurred to process the remaining box of evidence, found in Red Springs in August, in time for the September hearing. “RSPD’s failure to comply with the court orders impaired the Commissioner’s ability to conduct a full and timely investigation. The Commission relied upon the information provided by RSPD that RSPD did not have any files or evidence for the Commission’s investigation,” the motion says.".........Erich Hackney, investigator for the county District Attorney’s Office, said issuing such an order against a police officer is “not taken lightly” as the state’s Law Enforcement Training & Standards commissions are often notified of such orders. Hackney recently took custody of all evidence culled by the Innocence Inquiry Commission, including the box found in Red Springs. He declined to discuss the contents of the box, citing two ongoing investigations by that office and the State Bureau of Investigation. One investigation is being conducted to determine if McCollum and Brown are culpable in Buie’s death before Gov. Pat McCrory grants them a pardon of innocence. The other looks at whether anyone else should be charged for the crime.........Hackney said the newly found evidence isn’t the first troubling find in the department’s evidence room, which he visited several years ago after its previous chief departed because of “accountability issues” there. According to Hackney, he found “hundreds of items,” including firearms and drugs, which were destroyed, and large amounts of money, which were given to the Public Schools of Robeson County. “Given what has happened of late, it does not appear there has been much improvement in their evidence room. In fact, this was one of the very reasons why the original evidence in the Buie case, as well as the recently found evidence, was turned over to the District Attorney’s Office by the Innocence Commission three weeks ago instead of the police department,” he said."
Three good bills in CrimJur committee Monday
1 hour ago