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Family seeking U.S. Justice Department investigation into Pitt County death

Family seeking U.S. Justice Department investigation into Pitt County death
Published: Jan. 27, 2022 at 1:34 PM EST|Updated: Jan. 27, 2022 at 4:43 PM EST
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PITT COUNTY, N.C. (WITN) - The family of a man killed on New Year’s Day outside of Grimesland wants the U.S. Justice Department to look into the case.

Brandon Hardy was shot at a home on Alvin Road but no one has been charged in his death.

Pitt County deputies announced earlier today that their investigation is now in the hands of the district attorney and they provided a detailed report on the death of Hardy.

At a press conference in front of the Pitt County Courthouse late this afternoon, a family spokesman said they contacted the Justice Department’s Office of Civil Rights, who requested more information on the case.

In the report, the sheriff’s office said that Hardy’s long-term girlfriend Belinda Matthews invited Hardy over to her Alvin Road home to celebrate New Year’s Eve. After Hardy failed to show up, the report said that Matthews texted Hardy she was ending their relationship.

“At 12:46 AM, Matthews texted Hardy “Good luck.” She tried to call him one more time at 12:48 AM, but the call went unanswered. Between 1:44 AM and 2:03 AM, Hardy texted Matthews twice and tried calling her three times. Records show that the text messages and calls went unanswered. Matthews confirmed that she had blocked his number on her phone following her last call at 12:48 AM,” the report said.

At 1:35 a.m., deputies said Robert Green, Matthews’ other long-term boyfriend, showed up to the home. Investigators said there is no evidence Matthews invited him to her home or knew he was coming over.

Investigators said that after firing a celebratory gunshot in the air, Green entered the home with the gun still in his possession.

Deputies said sometime after 3 a.m., Hardy showed up to the home and used a key he had to get into the home through a side door.

Investigators said that Hardy entered Matthews’ bedroom, surprising she and Green.

The report said that Hardy assaulted Green and forced him to the back door at gunpoint. Deputies said that Green was able to pull his gun from his pocket and shot Hardy once.

Deputies said that physical evidence confirms that Green was assaulted.

“Green exited the home. He placed his firearm in his vehicle (where deputies later recovered it) and fled to safety in the darkness. Matthews called 911. Once deputies arrived, Green came out of the darkness and surrendered to law enforcement, saying that he was the shooter,” the report said.

Investigators said that all evidence collected at the scene along with witness statements from an 11-year-old and a 12-year-old corroborate Green’s account.

The report said a gun was recovered near the backdoor inside the home that witnesses confirmed was the one being held by Hardy.

Based on the sheriff’s office report, Pitt County District Attorney Faris Dixon will have to decide based on this investigation if this was a case of self-defense or a crime.

You can read the entire report below:

“The following summary sets forth the facts as determined in our comprehensive investigation of the events leading to the January 1, 2022 shooting death of Brandon Hardy. The events occurred at 3340 Alvin Rd. in Grimesland, the home of Belinda Matthews, who had been in long term relationships with both Brandon Hardy and Robert Green.

Phone records from December 31, 2021, show that Matthews had invited Hardy to her home to celebrate New Year’s Eve. Between 8:48 PM on December 31, 2021, and 12:46 AM on January 1, 2022, Hardy and Matthews exchanged text messages regarding the invitation. After Hardy failed to show up by midnight, Matthews texted Hardy that she was ending their relationship. At 12:46 AM, Matthews texted Hardy “Good luck.” She tried to call him one more time at 12:48 AM, but the call went unanswered. Between 1:44 AM and 2:03 AM, Hardy texted Matthews twice and tried calling her three times. Records show that the text messages and calls went unanswered. Matthews confirmed that she had blocked his number on her phone following her last call at 12:48 AM.

There are no records of any communication between Green and Matthews after 7:50 AM on December 30, 2021. At 1:35 AM on January 1, 2022, Robert Green arrived at the residence of Belinda Matthews. There is no evidence that Matthews invited Green to her house that evening or knew that he was coming over.

Witnesses confirm that, prior to entering the home, Green fired his firearm into the air as a celebratory New Year’s gesture. Green then entered the residence, still in possession of the firearm. He and Matthews were sitting on her bed talking.

Sometime after 3 AM, Hardy arrived at Matthews’ residence. He parked his car in the roadway, blocking the driveway. He left the hood up on his vehicle and, carrying a firearm, quietly entered the home through a side door using a key he had in his possession. Witness statements confirm that Hardy then entered Matthews’ bedroom, surprising Green and Matthews. Hardy assaulted Green and then forced Green to the back door at gunpoint. Green was then able to retrieve his firearm from his pocket and fired, striking Hardy once. Physical evidence confirms that Green was assaulted. Green exited the home. He placed his firearm in his vehicle (where deputies later recovered it) and fled to safety in the darkness. Matthews called 911.

Once deputies arrived, Green came out of the darkness and surrendered to law enforcement, saying that he was the shooter. All evidence collected at the scene along with the witness statements corroborate Green’s statements. The witnesses include an 11-year-old and 12-year-old who were present in the home and witnessed most of the altercation between Green and Hardy. Deputies recovered a firearm near the back door inside the residence. Witnesses confirmed the weapon as being the one possessed by Hardy.

We as law enforcement officers and criminal investigators are fact finders. Every case we work is unique, yet in every case, the evidence must be collected and processed systematically, piece by piece. In some homicide cases, we have sufficient probable cause from the evidence to make an arrest at the scene. Sometimes our investigations reveal additional evidence that provides sufficient probable cause to obtain a warrant for a suspect’s arrest shortly after the event. In other cases, as in this case, the evidence of the essential elements of a criminal offense is insufficient for us to make an arrest or to obtain a warrant absent guidance from the District Attorney’s Office. We cannot make an arrest, and therefore bring the full weight of the criminal justice system to bear on a suspect, unless we in good faith expect the District Attorney’s Office to prosecute this case. In these circumstances, as we have done in this case, we submit the findings and details of our investigation to the District Attorney’s Office and await their decision.”

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