07/18/07 — Kornegay death not labeled as a murder

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Kornegay death not labeled as a murder

By Lee Williams
Published in News on July 18, 2007 1:45 PM

A question of whether a Goldsboro man died from a self-inflicted gunshot wound or was the victim of a homicide will remain a mystery.

The State Medical Examiner's Office in Chapel Hill has changed its findings on what caused the death of Raheim Kornegay, now labeling it as "undetermined."

The findings detailed in an updated autopsy report dated June 27 contradict an earlier report sent to the Goldsboro News-Argus. Kornegay's initial autopsy report dated June 12 listed the cause of death as a "homicide."

The report was completed by Dr. Terry Grant, the Wayne County medical examiner assigned to the case. However, it remains unclear what prompted the change. Calls to Grant were unreturned.

Goldsboro police responded to 602 Courtyard Circle and found Kornegay, 23, of Lincoln Drive, suffering from a single gunshot wound to the lower chest and upper abdomen. His girlfriend, Sharon Sheppard, 28, was present at the time of the shooting.

Ms. Sheppard was fatally shot four days later outside McIntyre Funeral Home, where she had come to attend Kornegay's funeral.

While a motive has not been released by police, some who knew the couple called the incident an act of retaliation. They said some family members believed Ms. Sheppard played a role in Kornegay's death.

However, Ms. Sheppard's mother, Carol Sheppard, refuted this information. She said her daughter told her that she did not kill Kornegay.

Police said they believe Ms. Sheppard and Kornegay were the only ones in the apartment when the gun went off. However, during a frantic call to 911 by a female caller, another voice can be heard in the background.

Kelvin Buffalo Jr., 18, of Goldsboro, has since been charged with Ms. Sheppard's murder.

Kornegay and Ms. Sheppard shared an infant son, Rahkeim Kornegay. They also had children from previous relationships.

Kornegay's murder occurred just two days after child protective services workers removed Ms. Sheppard's four children from the home. The action was taken after officials received a report that guns were inside the apartment.

Goldsboro police originally labeled the Kornegay case a death investigation. According to law enforcement officials not connected to the case, a death investigation implies a person died of natural causes or that no foul play was involved.

At the time of Ms. Sheppard's death, police said she was a person of interest in the case.

According to the autopsy report, Kornegay's death was considered a suicide or a homicide. The fatal bullet pierced Kornegay's lower chest, upper abdomen, liver, right kidney, lung and then exited the body through his back. No gun residue was noted on the report.

"Examination of the hands reveals no visible injuries or residues," the June 12 report stated.

Kornegay was believed to have been fatally shot with a medium-caliber handgun. However, the weapon used in the shooting was not found by police.

At the time of his death, Kornegay was identified as a "police informant," according to the June 12 autopsy report.

Information regarding Kornegay's status remained unchanged on Dr. Grant's updated June 27 report, but Goldsboro police officials have said that Kornegay was not working behind the scenes as an informant.