Murder charge in death of man found in parking lot


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Submitted: Mon, 03/28/2011 - 8:47pm
Updated: Tue, 03/29/2011 - 12:48pm
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WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) — New developments tonight in the investigation into the death of 33-year-old Michael Smith. His body was found last week in a Monkey Junction parking lot. Now investigators say he was the victim of a murder.

Deputies have arrested and charged 30-year-old Charles Saliba for Smith’s murder. Investigators say Smith was found Thursday with bullet wounds outside the Blockbuster on South College Road.

New Hanover County Sheriff’s deputies arrested Saliba just 14 hours after finding Smith’s body. Sheriff Ed McMahon says the swift arrest was due to the combined effort of detectives and the District Attorney’s Office.

“Detectives worked overnight and through the weekend, but everyone working together enabled to bring the beginning of justice and charge this gentleman with first degree murder,” McMahon said.

The murder investigation continues.

District Attorney Ben David says they do not know of a motive right now.

Saliba will make his first appearance in court on the murder charge tomorrow morning.

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