UPDATE: Manslaughter Charge Dropped In Grifton Shooting

A Grifton man will not face manslaughter charges for the death of his cousin on May 26th.

Police chief Warren Morrisette tells WITN News that through further investigation they have determined that Ronald Brown Jr. fired in self defense.

Killed was Brown's cousin, Marquis Graham. Police say Graham attacked Brown with a knife.

The district attorney dropped the voluntary manslaughter charge last Thursday.

Brown is still facing a charge of possession of a firearm by a convicted felon and is due in court today on that charge.


Grifton police say a deadly shooting Tuesday afternoon may have been a case of self defense.

Police also say the man arrested for pulling the trigger is related to the dead man. Both the suspected shooter and the victim have criminal records and were released from prison in the last 12 months.

34-year-old Ronald Brown Jr. of Grifton was in court Wednesday morning. His bond was set at $50,000. Half of that is for a voluntary manslaughter charge. The other half is for a charge of possession of a firearm by a convicted felon. His next court date was set for June 10.

Police Chief Warren Morrisette tells WITN that the victim, Marquis Graham, was on a bicycle at Church and Queen streets. The chief says Graham approached Brown, who was a passenger in a car.

Witnesses told police that Graham had a knife and attempted to stab Brown. Authorities say during a scuffle a single shot was fired, hitting Graham in the chest.

Morrisette says the two men were cousins and had a long-standing feud.

According to the North Carolina Department of Corrections, Brown was convicted in 1997 of robbery with a dangerous weapon and assault with a deadly weapon. He was released from prison in 2008.

The corrections website lists Brown with 19 infractions during his time behind bars, including substance possession, disobeying orders and threatening to harm or injure staff. Brown also has other convictions for drug possession and assaulting a public official dating back to 1993.

Graham's online records show he had convictions for common law robbery and assault. He was convicted of assault with a deadly weapon in 2005 and was released in January 2009.

The corrections website lists Graham with 47 infractions during his time behind bars, including active rioting, lock tampering, assaulting staff with a weapon, flooding cell, involvement with a gang and fighting.

He also has convictions for assault dating back to 2001.


WITN has learned police have charged a man in a shooting in broad daylight.

Ronald Jerome Brown, Jr., 34, of MLK Junior Drive in Grifton is behind bars. Pitt County Detention Center records show Brown is charged with voluntary manslaughter and possession of a firearm by a felon.

Grifton Police Chief Warren Morrisette says Marquis Graham was shot in the chest at the corner of Queen and Church Streets in Grifton around 1:30 p.m. Tuesday.

Chief Morrisette said there is evidence Brown may have shot Graham in self-defense, but that which is reflected in the charge of voluntary manslaughter over murder.

Brown's bond is set at $25,000. His previous convictions include armed robbery and assault with a deadly weapon


Previous story

A potential suspect is in police custody, Grifton Police Chief Warren Morrisette says Ronald Jerome Brown, Jr. is being interviewed and charges will likely be filed Tuesday night into Wednesday morning about a shooting that took place Tuesday.

Pitt County authorities say the shooting killed one man and placed a nearby elementary school on alert.

It happened around 1:20 p.m. in Grifton, at the corner of Queen & Church Streets.

Grifton Police Chief Warren Morrisette says Marquis Graham was shot in the middle of the street.

The 25-year-old Graham was wounded in the chest and died later at Pitt County Memorial Hospital.

Pitt County Schools says Grifton Elementary School was placed on a modified lock down Tuesday afternoon. Spokeswoman Heather Mayo says parents were still allowed to pick up their children and school dismissed at regular time.


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Comments are posted from viewers like you and do not always reflect the views of this station.
  • by Shanekwa Location: Grifton on Dec 29, 2009 at 12:22 PM
    No i am not going to hide my name. These people leaving comments knew nothing about marquis. Marquis was my big brother figure i know he had done wrong but it does not justify someone killing him. I feel that the situation could have been delt with differently. I love marquis to death and yes he has made bad decision but he was trying to get his life together and someone cut it short because they thought that being a man meant shooting him in the chest rather than to keep riding in the car that he was in. So, i am going to end this by saying Rest In Peace Marquis and you are truly missed but i will never forget all the good times all of us have shared with you! I love you big Bro!
  • by vernon Location: the backstreet on Sep 10, 2009 at 10:39 PM
    since i couldn't stand to see u being put in the ground, this is a sense is my part of my goodbye. i'll never 4get u man, i promise. i knw u good now but it just don't feel rite - i don't care how/y it went down and even though i try not to, i thnk abt u all the time, even now. i just try to thnk of it as, u locked up again-just for a very long. today i passed by whre the arab store used to be on dickinson, where we had that lil adventure that time and i thought about what u said @ the lil get-together we had that sat. n/e way i just want to say i luv u man and i take u w/ me wherever i go - 4ever and that everybody is ok. i knw u was looking 4ward to ur brother coming home and, as far as i knw, he doing ok. as for all u ppl who have so much to say on the internet and otherwise - everybody has their day, sooner or later. good-bad-whatever, and this goes for EVERY one of u - I PROMISE U THIS! qui was in the wrong as we all have been but it wasn't for him or black to decide it was time.
  • by Dave Location: Wilson on Jul 6, 2009 at 09:37 AM
    I am happy for Mr. Brown. We need more people stepping up and defending themselves from the thugs that are overrunning our streets.
  • by A true friend Location: Ayden on Jun 17, 2009 at 10:10 AM
    You know i am sick of people talking about marque.Like you knew him let me tell you like this. we all make mistakes and we are not perfect. but no one should be killed in the middle of the street like they are nothing. so while you all are passing judgement on my friend. i hope no one passes judgement on your pass sin and mistakes.the point of the whole thing is that MR.Browm should go to jail and never be let out he took a life and his freedom should be taking away. he should not be out walking around, where he can do this to someone else and claim self defense. and not go to jail for that also what is this world coming to? i am going to miss my friend. i love you marque and will never forget you.
  • by David Location: Kinston on Jun 13, 2009 at 12:14 PM
    He is still a threat to society.Black,white or whatever,we need these people off the streets.
  • by pete grifton on Jun 13, 2009 at 08:26 AM
    Z wake up and smell the &$#**. you can be in prison yourself think about this you are riding down the road.three punk's cut you off then start trouble.you have a gun with you in your car,you show it to prevent them from attacking you.Now here come the cop's all three have no criminal records(sealed because the former crimes they did were as minors)they all tell the same thing that you cut them off then pulled a gun.Now Z see who goes to jail and has to hire a lawyer.you could get 12-18 month's in prison.
  • by sunshine Location: washignton on Jun 11, 2009 at 06:00 PM
    Ordnanceman: murder, why are you saying anything about someones grammer, we are talking about someone getting killed and all you have to do is find something wrong with someones grammer. WHAT A LIFE!!!!!!!
  • by gaga Location: gville on Jun 11, 2009 at 10:22 AM
    Dave police force have nothing to do with this guy getting KILLED!!!!!!! People bring crime to themselves.It's this thing called IGNORE
  • by sam Location: farmville on Jun 11, 2009 at 05:26 AM
    all I can say is ONE MORE PIECE OF CRAP IS OFF THE STREETS. They both are most likly druggies anyway.
  • by friend Location: grifton on Jun 10, 2009 at 08:13 PM
    jojo, he probably would be dead because marquis did not play games.
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