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Charges Dismissed Against Former Deputy

A murder charge against a deputy sheriff accused of shooting an unarmed teenager accused in a Playstation Three theft was nullified Tuesday after a grand jury foreman said he marked the wrong box on indictment papers.

The dismissal came a day after New Hanover County District Attorney Ben David announced the indictment against former Corporal Christopher Long.

David had said in court Monday that an investigation showed Long incorrectly thought a battering ram's noise was gunfire and that he fired in reaction, killing 19-year-old Peyton Strickland. Two other deputies who were involved were cleared but the 34-year-old Long was fired from the sheriff's department.

Strickland lived with three other students in Wilmington and was one of three charged with beating another student and taking two game consoles.

Strickland's family said in a statement they were confused and searching for answers.

Long's defense lawyer Michael McGuinness of Elizabethtown says he hopes the prosecutor respects the grand jury decision and closes the case. He also says it's too early to tell if Long will try to re-enter law enforcement because the case has been traumatic for the former deputy.


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