Man draws two life sentences for murders
By Jack Stephens
Published in News on January 20, 2006 1:49 PM
A Goldsboro man was sentenced Thursday to two consecutive life terms in prison for his part in a "grisly" double murder on New Year's Day 2004.
Christopher Lee Brown, 22, of Forest Knolls Road, pleaded guilty in Wayne County Superior Court to the first-degree murders of Michael Shawn Maynard, 30, and Christie Nicole Jones, 25. They were shot to death at Maynard's mobile home on Garrick Lane.
A second murder defendant and an accused accomplice have not been tried.
Brown showed no emotion during the 95-minute hearing, even when relatives of the victims spoke emotionally about their loved ones.
Maynard's father, Gary, placed an urn containing his son's cremated remains on the edge of the prosecution's table closest to Brown before he spoke.
The only witness to the crimes was Maynard's 7-year-old daughter, who was visiting from another state. She hid in a closet during the killings.
"This was an extremely tragic event," Sheriff Carey Winders said, "certainly for a young child who saw murders like this. ... Two grisly murders and a small child, that's all we had. We had to hunt down leads and get information."
Winders paid tribute to his entire office for their teamwork in arresting the two murder defendants within 18 hours. So did Earl "Buck" Jones, the father of the slain woman. Jones also praised Assistant District Attorneys Claud Ferguson and Jan Kroboth for their work.
Then staring at Brown, Jones said, "On the morning you murdered her, she was crippled. Her feet had to be pieced together and she couldn't stand without a wheelchair or crutches. You murdered a crippled girl. You're a disgrace."
His daughter h ad been injured seriously in a vehicle accident four months earlier in Wake County. Authorities said she was visiting Maynard, a friend, to celebrate the new year and to paint his daughter's fingernails.
"No alcohol, no drugs, nothing in your life justified what you did. Do you understand me?" asked Jones, who wagged a finger at Brown as he spoke. "I really feel for your family."
Ms. Jones' mother and Maynard's mother, uncle and sister also spoke.
When Judge James Ammons of Fayetteville allowed Brown to speak, the defendant refused.
"Our criminal justice system means what it says," Ammons told the defendant, "but it doesn't say you cannot become a useful member of society."
Winders had said robbery was the motive for the slayings. Brown and Cox were accused of stealing two .22 caliber rifles, a box of ammunition and a crossbow.
As Ms. Jones was dying, she told Maynard's daughter to call 911. The girl did but then hung up on dispatchers. Deputy Eric Robinson went to the home to investigate the call and found the child watching television. She told him what happened. A large group of officers responded to the scene, canvassed the neighborhood and quickly developed the suspects. Brown was found that night by Goldsboro police on Elm Street. The other murder defendant, Telly T. Cox, 23, of LaGrange Road, LaGrange, was found four hours later. Cox will not be tried for several months, prosecutor said.
The state dropped four other charges against Brown -- two counts of first-degree kidnapping and one count of armed robbery and attempted first-degree rape -- in exchange for his guilty plea. Lawyers Terry Alford of Spring Hope and Charles Gurley of Goldsboro represented Brown in court.
Alonza Sonye Bedell, 21, of Hunters Creek Drive, was charged with two counts of being an accessory after the murders. Investigators say she drove the getaway car. In exchange for her cooperation, she was allowed to plead guilty to two counts of being an accessory after the fact of an assault with a deadly weapon with intent to kill while inflicting serious injury. She has not yet been sentenced.
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