Family of murder suspects thrown out of courtroom

Published 9:16 am Wednesday, February 23, 2011


COURTLAND—Family members of two murder suspects were escorted from a Courtland courtroom after an argument broke out during a Tuesday preliminary hearing.

It all started after Bruce Boone, 18, of Suffolk — one of five men charged with killing Darrin Lee, 28, of Southampton Meadows Mobile Home Park on Oct. 7 — walked in to testify.

Boone was guided directly past suspect Rasheed Brown, 21, of Franklin, to the witness stand. Boone testified on Feb. 8 that Brown shot Lee in the head.

Boone smiled in Brown’s direction upon entering the courtroom.

That’s when Brown taunted Boone and told him to “quit smiling.”

Upon hearing the comment, Boone’s mother, who was attending the hearing, claimed that it was Brown’s fault that her son was involved with Lee’s death.

A member of the Brown family then began shouting toward the defendants.

As Brown’s family and Boone’s mother were being escorted from the courtroom, Boone’s mother exclaimed, “It was your son who shot him in the head, and took his life.”

Boone’s testimony on Tuesday remained identical to that of Feb. 8. with the exception of three statements. It was enough for a judge to continue the cases against Brown, Darrin Robinson, 20, of Suffolk and Ernest Jones, 22, of Portsmouth to Circuit Court.

On Feb. 8, Boone waived his right to a preliminary hearing and a judge determined there was enough evidence against Shahon Cumbo, 21, of Franklin for the case to continue. Murder charges against Dayquan Eley, 18, of Suffolk were dismissed.

As for the three statements not included in the testimony from Feb. 8, Boone testified Tuesday he heard more than the one shot fired by Brown.

“I heard like two more shots,” he told the court.

Boone also testified that he heard the shots as he reached the woods behind Lee’s house after fleeing the scene.

The origin of the shots was not identified during the hearing.

Boone also testified that Robinson attempted to persuade Boone to return to Robinson’s car to leave just as an unknown car flashed its lights toward the Lee and Brown.

Within seconds, Brown had shot Lee in the back of the head, according to Boone’s testimony.

Southampton County Sheriff’s Det. Sgt. Wanda Covington testified that Lee was shot in the bottom right of the head, and the bullet exited in the upper left cheek area.

Lastly, it was revealed that Boone told Lt. J.R. Ricks that the suspects went to Lee’s home because he was allegedly a prominent “dope” dealer and they needed money.

During Tuesday’s hearing, Boone retracted that statement and testified the he lied to Ricks.

Boone testified that he was unaware of any reason for pursuing Lee until the abduction at Man Market when Brown instructed Lee to, according to Boone, “take them to everything he got.”