Whiteville man accused of murdering neighbor

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Submitted: Wed, 01/28/2009 - 4:41am
Updated: Mon, 10/29/2012 - 12:46pm

WHITEVILLE, NC (WWAY) — What started as a dispute between neighbors ended with one man dead and another in jail charged with his murder. The shooting happened around 12:30 a.m. Tuesday at the Saw Mill apartment complex in Whiteville.

Neighbors and police say there have been ongoing disputes between two residents Danny Ray Nobles, 23, and the man who lived below him, Thomas Lee Melvin, 53.

Estelle Sellers lives in the Saw Mill complex and said the two men were often seen arguing.

"We called the cops several times to come out here and try to put a stop to it," she said.

Det. Tedd Dixon with the Whiteville Police Department is investigating.

"Apparently they couldn’t reside with one another because of noise. Either the upstairs tenant was making too much noise for the victim or the suspect was making too much noise," Dixon said.

The early morning fight could have been sparked by an incident earlier in the day after Melvin filed a police report saying Nobles spit on him from over the railing of their apartment building.

"Mr. Nobles went to his vehicle, pulled a rifle and began shooting the victim. The victim ran and was literally running for his life," Dixon said.

Det. Dixon said Nobles chased Melvin around the complex and shot him at least 12 times, killing him. Nobles turned himself into police soon after.

Melvin’s sister Thelma Melvin Gause gathered with family members Tuesday afternoon.

"I’m still in shock. He was such a good person. He’d do anything he could for anybody. We just ask everybody to remember us in your prayers and also remember the other families, too, because there are two families involved," she said.

Nobles’s grandfather, Marshall, believes his grandson was repeatedly provoked.

"I’m just wishing people in the city could disagree without being violently disagreeable," Det. Dixon said.

Investigators will continue to question Nobles, who faces first degree murder charges and is being held in the Columbus County jail under no bond.


  • gergo says:

    “He was such a good person. He’d do anything he could for anybody.”

    Except keep the **ing noise down.

    Maybe he deserved it. In my experience, noisy neighbors don’t give a ** about anyone anyway, and your sanity is not important to them one bit.
    So, they drive you insane, make you lose sleep, and yet everyone acts surprised that someone gets killed? Ever hear of “temporary insanity”?
    I can think of no better explanation/defense.

    Nobles looks finally relaxed and quiet in the photo.

  • Guest201 says:

    It is significant that the shooting occurred at 12:30 a.m. This is a time when a very strict noise ordinance should be in effect. As an apartment dweller, I am sometimes awakened in the wee hours by inconsiderate neighbors’ noise.

    It is infuriating to be awakened in the middle of the night by rude, selfish neighbors who do not have the manners or civility to consider other’s rights. Noisy neighbors are very disrespectful people who are lacking in ethical/moral principles. This shooting is a tragic example of what can happpen when someone continually disrepects the privacy of his neighbor.

  • Glenda Goedde says:

    I am so very very sorry and I promise to pray daily for all of the families involved. I lost my niece over two years ago in Brunswick Co, NC and this breaks my heart and soul. GOD is with you all and turn to him for guidence. I must say it doesn’t get better but at times worse. Try to think of the great memories you have and keep them alive for this is your healing. There is nothing I can say at this time but I love you. Losing a loved one is horrific. They will not have any more suffering and pain on this earth but will be an angel in heaven now. God bless each and everyone of you now. Have a blessed day and take care. Life is to short not to enjoy for I know. I haven’t let go of the pain but tonight it seems I have no worries at this moment for you all are worse than I. My niece was shot in the head point blank twice and aged 36 years left dead in a deserted parking lot but a gentleman heard the shots and reported it. Thank goodness she was found. I have to thank everyone with WWAY and even the Governor of North Carolina Mr. Mike Easley for their support. Life goes on with or without us my father used to say and time doesn’t stand still. Do the best you can for that is all that is expected of you. There is nothing anyone could have done to stop these crimes of passion. It is a thin line between sanity and reality but once that line is crossed in one second when the gun is shot and the bullit kills for there will never be any turning back. GOD forgives if you ask and HE is by my side at all times and at this time HE is carrying you all the way. There is no answers to why, for only GOD knows. We can raise our children but we can not live their lives. All of us are just a gift of God! Always do as I have done quote the 23rd Psalm for this is the answer and my prayer to you all at this time.

    I would do anything for you to take the pain away. Our lives will never be the same.

    Fayetteville, TN

  • WilmMan says:

    Noise or no noise, this individual had no right to do what he did. This is when the State should bring back the Death Penalty. It was premeditated and deserves everything he gets. The LEAST he should receiver is life in prison without parole

  • WilmingtonMAJ says:

    I’ve always had mixed emotions about the death penalty. It seems like a just punishment, but at the same time doesn’t it just bring us as a society down to the same level as the killer. Plus it’s been made clear that it’s not a deterrent and the appeals and lawyers usually cost more than life in prison…

    At the same time if someone killed my family I think I would want the death penalty for the killer…preferably at my own hands with a pair of pliers, some nails and a blowtorch.

  • Caring Citizen says:

    This is an outrage!

  • Any Place says:

    If you read the report you would understand that the disrespect went both ways,(noise disturbance was reported both ways) but only the disrespectful act of shooting and taking some ones life only went one way. So I hope your comment is to admonish the accused for his lack of respect for the victim’s right to live, than to admonish the victim to respect the accused’s right to privacy.

  • Matthew says:

    “Noisy neighbors are very disrespectful people who are lacking in ethical/moral principles. This shooting is a tragic example of what can happen when someone continually disrespects the privacy of his neighbor.”

    This story should be posted in every apartment complex. Something to give the rude ones something to think about. You never know who you might be pissing off. As tragic as this is, I can completely understand how it got to that point. It’s why I don’t own a gun.

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