02/05/14 — Father pleads no contest to abuse charge

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Father pleads no contest to abuse charge

By John Joyce
Published in News on February 5, 2014 1:46 PM

Brendan Pemberton, 22, pleaded no contest in Wayne County Superior Court today to second-degree murder in the May 2012 beating death of his 4-month-old son, Jaylin Maurice Pemberton.

He could serve up to 40 years in prison.

Jaylin Pemberton died May 31, 2012, at Wayne Memorial Hospital after he was found unresponsive in his home at 115 Rhodes Drive in Dudley.

Investigators with the Wayne County Sheriff's Office charged Pemberton with an open count of murder July 3, 2012, after an autopsy revealed Jaylin's death was caused by blunt force trauma to the head.

Evidence from the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner in Raleigh revealed Jaylin had abrasions to his right eye and contusions to either side of his head.

There was bleeding inside the child's skull and internal damage behind both eyes.

Pemberton, a band leader in his local church, never lost the support of his wife or fellow church members, many of whom came to nearly every court proceeding held since his arrest in 2012.

More than 30 members of the Victory Faith Center, led by Pastor Walter L. Barbour, attended an October 2013 bond hearing during which Pemberton's wife, Marissa, took the stand and said she would welcome him home.

Barbour also spoke highly of Pemberton's character at the hearing.

Pemberton's bond was reduced from $1 million to $750,000, but he was never able to make bond.

After several motions filed by the defense to delay for more time to prepare expert witnesses, jury trial was set to begin Feb. 10.

Assistant District Attorney Matthew Delbridge and defense attorney William Gerrans were able to reach an agreement satisfactory to both the state and defendant, resulting in today's plea.