02/18/04 — Deputy killer: This ‘kid’ obviously is an incorrigible

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Deputy killer: This ‘kid’ obviously is an incorrigible

“Since turning 18 in July Matthew Charles Grant had been charged with at least nine felonies and eight misdemeanors — including breaking and entering and contributing to the delinquency of a minor.”

That is from a newspaper account of the man who has admitted he shot a popular Wake County deputy sheriff in the head with a 12-gauge shotgun because he “panicked.”

And it echoes with amplification a recent cry of, “What was this guy doing on the streets in the first place!”

First accounts of the murder indicated that Grant was an innocent youngster who was “target practicing” and panicked when the officer pulled up behind his vehicle.

Published details about Grant appear to strip him of innocence. Indeed, his own biological father describes him as an incorrigible who while still a juvenile had been in an out of jail for breaking and entering, burglary, stealing cars and other crimes.

In recent months he was charged with contributing to the delinquency of a minor, a charge that involved his having a 15-year-old runaway in his home for two days. When officers arrived with the girl’s father, Grant reportedly “mouthed off” at the deputies to the point they handcuffed him and took him to jail.

Grant’s juvenile records, by law, are sealed. So the public can’t know precisely how frequently he was in trouble and for what. But since turning 18, he has been charged with crimes at the rate of once every two weeks.

Under conditions of his probation on felony charges, he was forbidden to have a firearm in his possession. And apparently he wasn’t “target practicing” when Deputy Mark Tucker pulled up behind him. Indications now are that he reached into his vehicle and pulled out the shotgun when the officer arrived.

And blasted him in the face at close range.

From what is now being reported it would appear that the courts had ample reason to have put this fellow away for a while rather than release him to further menace society.

And this is a case suggesting strongly that juvenile records should be unsealed upon a person’s being convicted of a felony after reaching age 18.

Published in Editorials on February 18, 2004 11:24 AM