10/02/13 — Trial set for man charged in son's murder

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Trial set for man charged in son's murder

By John Joyce
Published in News on October 2, 2013 1:46 PM

A trial date has been set for a 22-year-old accused of murder in connection with the death of his son.

In a bond hearing in Wayne County Superior Court Tuesday, Judge Arnold O. Jones agreed to a reduction in bond and set a tentative trial date of Feb. 10 in the first-degree murder case against Brendan Jamarin Pemberton.

Pemberton is accused of beating his 4-month-old son, Jaylin, to death.

Witnesses for the defense included Pemberton's wife, Marissa, and pastor Walter L. Barbour of the Victory Faith Center, where Pemberton is both a member and leader of the band.

More than 30 church and family members were in attendance.

Both Barbour and Mrs. Pemberton spoke highly of the defendant's character and said they were waiting to welcome him home should his bond be reduced and his release arranged.

The hearing grew contentious early as Assistant District Attorney Matt Delbridge accused the defendant's counsel of intentionally delaying the trial.

Defense attorney William Gerrans said he needed more time to confer with expert witnesses and told the judge the case could have been resolved a year ago had the prosecution accepted a proposed plea agreement, the details of which were not disclosed.

Jones dismissed Gerrans from the courtroom for a time with instructions to get his expert on the phone and find out just how much more time was needed to go over evidence and to prepare for trial. The expert could not be reached, however, and Jones set the tentative trial date for next year.

Before deciding on the bond reduction, the judge said he had given the witnesses' testimony "great consideration."

Jones then read from the autopsy report. Moments earlier he had received photos detailing the infant's injuries.

Those same injuries are detailed in an autopsy report released Tuesday by the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner in Raleigh.

Jaylin Marice Pemberton died at Wayne Memorial Hospital May 31, 2012, from blunt force trauma to the head.

His injuries included two pink abrasions to the right eye, according to the report.

There were also two contusions more than a square-inch in size listed on the report, one to the left side of the head and another on the right. The report also detailed evidence of bleeding inside the scull and internal damage to both eyes.

After another long silence, Jones reduced Pemberton's bond from $1 million to $750,000. He also instructed Pemberton, if he should be released, not to be in the presence of his family or any minor child without supervision.

Delbridge said he could not comment on the case as it is ongoing.

Barbour, who said after the hearing Tuesday he would be meeting with his church's board to determine what, if any, financial assistance might be lent to Pemberton posting bond, could not be reached for comment by press time.