Prosecutors withdraw murder case against Suffolk man

Published 8:23 pm Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Special to the News-Herald

A prosecutor in Southampton County has dropped murder charges against a Suffolk man following a court hearing for a co-defendant in the Oct. 7 murder of Darrin Lee.

During a preliminary hearing on Tuesday, Bruce Boone, another suspect in the killing, pinned the Oct. 7 killing on Rasheed Brown, 21, of Franklin.

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Boone, 18, of Suffolk testified in General District Court that Brown shot Lee in the head.

“He dropped,” Boone told the court.

Southampton County Sheriff’s Office charged six men, including Boone and Brown, with first-degree murder for Lee’s death. The 28-year-old was shot outside his home in Southampton Meadows Mobile Home Park after allegedly being abducted from Man Market on South Street in Franklin.

Four suspects were scheduled for preliminary hearings on Tuesday to determine if there was enough evidence to continue their cases.

Charges against one of those men, Dayquan Eley, 18, of Suffolk, were dismissed. Southampton County Commonwealth’s Attorney Eric Cooke would not comment on the reason.

A judge determined there was enough evidence against Shahon Cumbo, 21, of Franklin, for the case to continue.

While testifying during Cumbo’s hearing, Boone said that on the evening of Oct. 7, Brown instructed him, Jones and Cumbo to abduct Lee from Man Market. Jones and Boone approached Lee as he left his Lexus and went into the store, Boone said, adding that he and Jones were both carrying handguns.

A seventh alleged suspect — only identified as Quad — was also said to have been present, Boone testified. Brown eventually joined the two and successfully forced Lee into his Lexus.

Brown then demanded that Lee take him to where he had his money, Boone testified. Lee responded that he had $2,000 at his mother’s house in Southampton Meadows.

Lee was forced to drive to that location while Brown, Boone and Jones rode with him, Boone testified.

Cumbo and “Quad” proceeded to follow Lee in a Toyota Camry. Robinson and Eley followed in another Lexus, Boone testified.

Upon arrival, Brown instructed Lee to call his brother and tell him to bring the money outside; Lee refused. Brown then demanded that Boone enter the house to obtain the money. Boone said he again refused.

Everyone in Lee’s car walked toward the door of the home, and arguing ensued as to who would retrieve the money from the home. At that time, the driver of an unknown car flashed his lights, and Brown accused Lee of setting him up, Boone testified.

Before Lee could argue his case, Brown shot him in the head, Boone told the court.

Arguing that Cumbo had remained in his car during the shooting, his attorney moved to strike the charge of first-degree murder due to the lack of probable cause.

Cooke argued that Cumbo willingly participated in an abduction and robbery where a homicide resulted.

Boone waived his right to his hearing, which means his case will go to the grand jury.

The hearing for suspect Darrin L. Robinson, 20, of Suffolk, was rescheduled for Feb. 22. Ernest Jones, 22, of Portsmouth, and Brown also will be heard that day.