09/24/12 — Murder suspects make first appearance in court

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Murder suspects make first appearance in court

By Dennis Hill
Published in News on September 24, 2012 1:46 PM

Four men charged with murder in the death of Kennedy Fitzgerald McLaurin Jr. had their first appearance in Wayne County Superior Court this morning.

Leonard Joyner, 21, Jerome Butts, 19, Kevin Smith 18, and Curtis Etheredge, 17, appeared via videoconference from the Wayne County Jail about 10 a.m. before Superior Court Judge Arnold Jones.

They were appointed defense lawyers out of Raleigh.

Officials say they discovered McLaurin's remains Saturday about 3 p.m., off Carmack Road in southeastern Wayne County.

Authorities have released few details about his death. He was reported missing Sept. 9. The body was sent to the state Medical Examiner's Office for identification and the cause of death.

Police issued a warrant for Joyner on Friday, and he turned himself in several hours later. Smith and Butts also were arrested Friday night. Etheredge was arrested shortly after noon on Saturday.