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Feb. 27, 2007: Teen accused in man's death appears in court

By Shavonne Potts
Salisbury Post

First published February 27, 2007

One of the six young adults charged with involuntary manslaughter in the death of a motorized scooter rider made her first court appearance Monday.
Patsy Elizabeth Morgan, 19, was the only defendant in Superior Court, and even she wasn’t required to be present. The other teens waived their right to first appearances and arraignments. Their attorneys represented them Monday.
Morgan, along with Brandon Heathcliff Lowery, 21, Rachel Ann Miller, 19, Derek Ryan Talbert, 21, Alstin Lee Vanderford, 19, and Eric Gregory Taylor, 19, are charged in the death of 27-year-old Michael Jason Brown who died in eastern Rowan County last May. The teens are also charged with passenger fleeing the scene of an accident.
Brown was initially thought to have wrecked his motorized scooter accidentally. A report from the N.C. Highway Patrol said his scooter crossed the center line and overturned.
But Brown’s body was exhumed in January after new information prompted the reopening of the case. The teens turned themselves in to authorities earlier this month.
Winston-Salem attorney David Freedman is Morgan’s attorney. Although Freedman was not in court Monday, Jones Byrd Jr., an associate from his firm – Crumpler, Freedman, Parker & amp; Witt – appeared in the matter.
Rowan District Attorney Bill Kenerly said Morgan satisfied her first appearance and arraignment requirement.
Her next court date will be determined once each attorney has a chance to coordinate their schedules.
Attorney James Randolph said he would confirm this morning if he would represent Brandon Lowery.
Eric Taylor’s attorney is Salisbury’s Darrin Jordan. Taylor is charged with involuntary manslaughter as well as felonious hit and run/failure to remain at the scene.
Taylor was named as the driver and thus faces charges different from the other five.
Vanderford will be represented by local attorney James Davis and Salisbury Attorney Greg Jones will be handling Rachel Miller’s case, while local attorney David Bingham will represent Derek Talbert.
No other discussion of the case was made during Monday’s arraignment hearing.
Contact Shavonne Potts at 704-797-4253 or spotts@salisburypost.com.

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