Deputies identify Grimesland human remains as NY man - WNCN: News, Weather

Deputies identify Grimesland human remains as NY man

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GREENVILLE, N.C. -

Pitt County deputies say the body they found on a Grimesland farm last month is a man from Ithaca, N.Y.

Investigators say 59-year-old Anthony LaBarr died from blunt force trauma to his head on a farm off Galloway Road in Grimesland. They brought murder charges against three people weeks before they identified his badly decomposed body.

Charged in connection with the case are two brothers, 53-year-old Harold James Drake and 60-year-old Lester Gordan Drake, and 29-year-old Nakijah Latifa Howard. They're under $2 million bonds in the Pitt County Detention Center.

Deputies say the motive was robbery and believe the three friends killed LaBarr for money he got from a property sale. They say LaBarr was homeless and traveled to the East with Harold Drake and Nakijah Howard.

The Drake brothers have lengthy rap sheets and are due in court again on Nov. 7. Howard is scheduled to appear before a judge on Dec. 5.

--- Original Story ---

Two brothers and a woman charged with murder after deputies found a body over the weekend in Pitt County made a first court appearance Tuesday morning.

Each were issued $2 million bonds. Their next court appearance is scheduled for October 10.

Deputies say a tip Saturday afternoon led to a search with K-9 units, which eventually turned up human remains. Detectives say they cannot identify the badly decomposed body at this time. They're waiting for results from the medical examiner.

Charged in connection with the case are two brothers, 53-year-old Harold James Drake and 60-year-old Lester Gordan Drake, and 29-year-old Nakijah Latifa Howard. All three live in Pitt County and are each facing one open count of murder.

One of the suspects owns the farm where deputies found the body.

Public records show both brothers have criminal records. Harold Drake is a felon with convictions in 2007 for felony breaking and entering and possession of a weapon of mass destruction. Lester Drake, who records say goes by the nickname "Hill Billy Drake," is also a felon with convictions over the past decade for making a false report to police radio, possession of a firearm and larceny.

Records do not show any prior convictions for Howard, but deputies say she's wanted for child support in New York.   

Jail records show deputies originally arrested the trio on September 12th on several charges, including breaking and entering and larceny.

Back in May 2011, 9 On Your Side reported on the Drake brothers after deputies charged them for theft of lawnmowers and AC units across two counties. At the time, deputies said the pair targeted at least five victims, stole three riding lawnmowers, one AC unit, and one air compressor with a value of $4,000, and then sold them at flea markets.



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