Lumberton, North Carolina

From the Fayetteville Observer of September 26, 2007

Prosecutor drops murder charge against Brown

The Robeson County district attorney has dismissed a murder charge against a Rowland man.

District Attorney Johnson Britt said the first-degree murder charge against Jaralyn Edmond Brown Jr. was dismissed Sept. 18 before a probable cause hearing in Robeson County District Court.

“Based on the information provided to us, it was a self-defense case,” Britt said.

Brown was accused of shooting James McDougal, 26, who was found deadat Mill and Hickory streets in Rowland on April 2.

Investigators said McDougal and Brown had fought.

Residents who saw the altercation and members of McDougal’s family said McDougal had stepped in to help a relative who was fighting with Brown.

Britt said statements provided by Brown and a witness indicated McDougal initiated the fight. The men said McDougal hit Brown in the face with what appeared to be a handgun, Britt said. McDougal shot at Brown, and Brown returned fire.

“We had no other witnesses who would come forward regarding what specifically happened,” Britt said.

Regina McDougal, James McDougal’s mother, said the District Attorney’s Office only received information regarding Brown’s side of the story. She said she provided investigators with names of possible witnesses.

No one talked to anyone on the victim’s side. No one ever called me or asked me anything from Day One,” Regina McDougal said. “The only call I got from the chief of police was the day of my son’s death, and that was to get the correct spelling of my name. I feel my rights were violated as well as my son. My son would not have been in the fight if the police had done their job. They are taking his word. What about James? It needs to be taken to court to prove that it was self-defense.”

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