Detective indicted in teen's shooting death - WNCN: News, Weather

Detective indicted in teen's shooting death

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District Attorney Jon David held a news conference Tuesday morning to discuss details of the case. District Attorney Jon David held a news conference Tuesday morning to discuss details of the case.
A poster showing Keith Vidal made by family and friends. A poster showing Keith Vidal made by family and friends.

BRUNSWICK COUNTY, NC (WECT) – Southport Police Detective Bryon Vassey was indicted Monday evening for voluntary manslaughter in the death of Keith Vidal.

Vidal, 18, was shot and killed after his parents called authorities for help while the teen was having a schizophrenic episode.

District Attorney Jon David held a news conference Tuesday morning to discuss details of the case.

David started by emphasizing he has been committed to a process to get the "right people in place to be efficient, but thorough, and to be fair" to both the victim's family and the officers involved.

A grand jury took part in a presentment Monday and spent hours reviewing testimony and evidence from the case before coming to a decision around 7:30 p.m.

According to David, three SBI officers testified over the course of many hours, using diagrams to support their arguments. After hearing from those officers, the judge decided to allow Vassey to testify.

Vassey's attorney previously told CNN that Vidal attacked the officer with a screwdriver.

The grand jury was given the directions to decide if Vassey should be indicted on second degree murder, voluntary manslaughter or not be charged at all.

After listening for hours to all the facts, it was their collective judgment that Vassey be indicted on voluntary manslaughter.

"After I reviewed the case I found that a crime almost certainly did take place," explained David. "It was a 'bad shoot.' A grand jury has agreed."

The judge set Vassey's bond at $50,000 and he must turn himself in by noon Wednesday. The detective turned himself in around 9:30 Tuesday night.

Friend of the family, Anthony Owens, was not happy with the fact that Vassey had 48 hours to turn himself in.

"It is ridiculous that this man gets 48 hours," said Owens. "I am almost to the point of gathering up a group of people to go down to protest at the courthouse all night long," Owens said. "It's about time the justice system prevailed. There's a whole bunch of questions that need to be answered and I am on the hunt for them now."

After an internal investigation, the responding deputies from the Brunswick County Sheriff's Office and the Boiling Spring Lakes Police Department have been cleared of any wrong doing.

Late Tuesday, Southport Police Chief Jerry Dove said that Vassey will remain on paid administrative leave until Dove has a chance to meet with the District Attorney to make a final decision. That meeting could come as early as Wednesday.

The city of Southport released the following statement Tuesday evening.

"As reported in his press conference, the District Attorney will schedule a meeting to review the evidence obtained in the investigation of the incident of January 5 involving Detective Bryon Vassey. No decisions can be made regarding the employment of Detective Vassey until that meeting occurs. Detective Vassey will remain suspended pursuant to our personnel policy until further notice. Our thoughts and prayers continue for all involved."

Keith Vidal's family said they are happy with the indictment, though not entirely pleased Vassey will have a total of 48 hours to turn himself in.

"We are happy, we are going to have our day in court. This man is going to go to jail for killing our son," says Vidal's stepfather Mark Wilsey, "the minute he pulled that trigger, he's not a police officer anymore. He is a murderer, he's a criminal and he should have been treated accordingly.

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