07/16/09 — Jury finds dad guilty in baseball shooting

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Jury finds dad guilty in baseball shooting

By Nick Hiltunen
Published in News on July 16, 2009 1:46 PM

A jury found a Goldsboro man guilty of second-degree murder in the shooting of a neighbor he argued with over his child's baseball game, court records show.

Timothy Tramel Vaughn, 37, gave notice Wednesday that he would appeal the verdict through his attorney, James Antinore, court officials said.

Vaughn had been charged with first-degree murder in the shooting of James Anwar Brewington, 29.

Presiding Judge Phyllis Gorham gave the jury instructions that its members could find Vaughn guilty or not guilty of the original charge of first-degree murder, or of second-degree murder.

The jurors chose second-degree murder -- and Judge Gorham sentenced Vaughn to 15 to 20 years in prison for the offense.

Both Vaughn and Brewington's sons were playing a game of baseball in a yard near the intersection of Waters and East Holly streets on June 14, 2008.

Sometime during the game, Vaughn's son accidentally hit Brewington's son in the head with a metal baseball bat, police have said.

That led to Vaughn coming to the scene of the game and arguing with Brewington, who was intoxicated, a medical examiner testified.

Police said after the two men argued, Vaughn shot Brewington multiple times, causing his death.

Vaughn's defense attorney argued at trial that Brewington "became the aggressor" during the event, although police have said the men only exchanged words.

The baseball game on June 14, 2008, was described as small by police, involving less than 10 children playing baseball in a neighborhood yard.

Although Vaughn's attorney, Antinore, did not present evidence or witnesses at the trial, he asked the judge to dismiss the first-degree murder charge.

Antinore said the murder was not pre-meditated, because the shooting came as a result of fighting.

Assistant District Attorney Matt Delbridge argued that because Vaughn chose to bring a firearm, he had violent intentions before the argument started.

The assistant district attorney said that Chief Medical Examiner John Butts' testimony also showed the shooting of Brewington was at close range.

Delbridge argued that because of those facts, Vaughn's charges met the criteria for first-degree murder.

"To get as close as you can to that person, you want him to die, you (try) to shoot him where it's going to do the most damage ... which is what the defendant tried to do," Delbridge said.