No charges in shooting deaths of Cleveland cousins
Published 12:00 am Tuesday, October 1, 2013
Rowan County District Attorney Brandy Cook has decided not to file criminal charges against a man investigators say was involved in a July shooting that killed Daniel and William Redman, cousins from Cleveland.
In explaining the decision, Cook said the cousins drove with three other men to a home on Mountain Road, intending to confront Darren Sharpe. In the ensuing dispute, investigators say, someone from their truck fired on Roy Brooks, who lives next door to Sharpe, and Brooks fired back.
Cook said in a press release that Brooks “was on his own property and protecting himself.”
He was “not the aggressor and did not use excessive force,” the statement said.
After the shooting, the cousins were driven to a home at 520 Hildebrand Road, about five miles away. Investigators said they were already dead at the time.
Lisa Wise, mother of Daniel Redman, said she believes justice was not served in her son’s death. She said her son and his cousin went to the Mountain Road location that day thinking there was going to be a fistfight.
Deanna Redman Troutman, William Redman’s mother, said she was “terribly disappointed in the decision” and believed a jury should have decided the outcome.
The investigation revealed Christian “Seth” Oliphant, Joe “Dillon” Nichols, Joseph Tyler Fruia, William Redman and Daniel Redman planned to go to Sharpe’s home on Mountain Road to confront him regarding allegations, which the news release doesn’t explain. During an August interview, Lisa Wise said she was told the dispute was over a dog that may have been poisoned.
The statement said multiple witnesses told investigators they believed a fight was going to occur because Sharpe and his fiancé, Ashley Mowery, had received a call earlier that night that Oliphant was going to “shoot his house up and burn it down.”
Oliphant drove to Mountain Road and parked his truck in the Brookses’ driveway, next door to the house where Sharpe and Mowery were staying.
The Brookses had hosted a baby shower for Mowery earlier in the day, and the family was in the Brookses’ pool just before the shooting occurred.
The statement said Fruia denied anyone in the truck had a gun despite several witnesses who said Oliphant had a shotgun.
Another person, Donavan Sherrill, admitted he was also in the truck that night and confirmed to investigators Oliphant had a shotgun when he got out of the truck.
Sherrill denied anyone from the truck fired a gun at Roy or Melissa Brooks.
According to the statement, Roy Brooks told investigators that as the truck was backing out of his driveway, he saw what appeared to be the barrel of a gun.
Brooks said he saw a flash from the truck, which he believed was someone shooting at him. He returned fire with his handgun.
Brooks told detectives the truck pulled up the road and stopped. He said he then saw another flash from the truck and returned fire again.
Detectives found five bullet holes in Oliphant’s truck that they determined came from Brooks’ handgun.
The State Medical Examiner determined Daniel Redman died from a gunshot wound to his neck and that gunshot wounds to his chest and hand may have contributed to his death.
The medical examiner also determined William Redman died as a result of two gunshot wounds to the neck.
The Redmans were driven to the Hildebrand Road home of Joe “Dillon” Nichols’ father.
Oliphant’s shotgun was found in a ditch at the end of Mountain Road, loaded with pepper bullets and live rounds. The shotgun also had an attached sleeve that contained several live rounds.
Another witness said he was with Oliphant when he bought a gas mask, pepper bullets, a stock and a laser flashlight for his shotgun. The same witness told investigators the shotgun was fired earlier in the day.
Investigators said individuals in the truck gave inconsistent and untruthful statements in interviews with law enforcement.
The DA’s news release said William and Daniel Redman and Joseph Fruia had consumed alcohol. Toxicology tests revealed Daniel Redman’s blood alcohol content was .32, which is four times the .08 legal limit. Tests determined William Redman’s blood alcohol content was 0.14 or almost double the legal limit.
The statement said Brooks and his wife warned the individuals multiple times to leave their property.
The Rowan County DA’s office consulted with the Special Prosecutions Unit of the N.C. Attorney General’s Office, which supported the self-defense conclusion.
Cook said in her statement her office had thoroughly reviewed physical evidence, witness accounts and other facts.
“It is tragic anytime there is a loss of life. However, in this investigation, the conduct of Roy Brooks is not inconsistent with the law of self-defense,” she said.
Cook said North Carolina law is clear in that the state has the burden of “proving beyond a reasonable doubt that a person’s actions were not in self-defense.”
Lisa Wise, Daniel Redman’s mother, told a Post reporter in August she knew Roy and Melissa Brooks were involved in the shooting even though investigators did not name the couple. Wise said she’s known the Brookses for a number of years.
Wise, who said she’d been patient and appreciative of law enforcement efforts, said Monday she knew they had to do a lot of investigating to “get the truth.” She said she was thankful to Detective Chad Moose, who kept her informed and returned her calls.
Wise said Cook also returned her calls and explained the case to her.
“It’s not their fault the law reads like it does,” Wise said.
She was disappointed the others who were in the truck provided inconsistent accounts.
“You have to know beyond a shadow of a doubt, and there’s no way to know that,” she said.
However, Wise said the investigation’s conclusion does not offer any comfort. She said her family and William Redman’s family went to a meeting with Cook on Monday afternoon thinking the district attorney would tell them her office would be prosecuting murder charges.
“These boys were leaving. He (Roy Brooks) stepped out in the middle of the state highway. All of the bullet holes came from the back of the truck,” Wise said.
She said she doesn’t understand why the case turned out this way.
“Their reasoning doesn’t make sense. I thought I’d get some kind of justice today,” she said. “Our boys are dead. They can’t talk.”
Contact reporter Shavonne Potts at 704-797-4253. Twitter: www.twitter.com/salpostpotts Facebook: www.facebook.com/Shavonne.SalisburyPost.