Slain teen’s family presses DA for answers in suspicious death

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Submitted: Fri, 04/27/2012 - 3:38am
Updated: Sat, 04/28/2012 - 4:45pm

WHITEVILLE, NC (WWAY) — More than a dozen family members of a 16-year old girl killed last year in Chadbourn met with the Columbus County District Attorney today, demanding answers. The FBI’s civil rights unit is working alongside local and state agencies to find out whether Jasmine Thar’s death was an accident or a crime.

“We want to move on it. We want things done,” said Willie Gary, the family’s high profile attorney from Florida. “It was a knock down, drag out meeting, there was no question about that. The family wanted answers.”

Both the DA and Gary came out of the meeting with a common understanding: the process to find answers will take time.

Jasmine was shot and killed in the front yard of a Chadbourn home in December. James Blackwell, who lived across the street, says his Model 700 Remington rifle fired without pulling the trigger, killing Jasmine and striking two others. The shooting was ruled accidental and Blackwell was never charged.

Gary says all parties need to be held accountable

“That’s not to excuse anybody,” he said. “The shooter, the gun maker, or the shooter for being negligent.”

The case has garnered some major attention. Carlletta McNeil, Jasmine’s mother, called upon John Barnette, a civil rights activist in Charlotte to help with exposure. Earlier this month, the family organized an online petition to demand justice for Jasmine. They say it already has about 75,000 signatures from supporters all over the world. Some are even drawing parallels to the high profile case in Florida involving Trayvon Martin.

“I would say that some of the people that signed the petition for Jasmine, if you would study and look deep enough a large percentage of those may be the same ones that supported Trayvon Martin and I think because Trayvon Martin sparked an awareness,” said Barnette.

Supporters plan to continue to fight for answers and demanding justice for Jasmine.

“I’m confident that we’re going to get a resolution,” Gary said. “I think it’s too early to start guessing what’s going to happen because I think the evidence is going to have to support that one way or the other. We want justice.”

District attorney Jon David says there is no timetable for the investigation. He says there are ballistic and forensic tests being done. He wanted to reiterate that the investigation will be very thorough.

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40 Comments on "Slain teen’s family presses DA for answers in suspicious death"

2015 years 8 months ago

“The question is what is BLACKWELL doing with a loaded gun in the house let alone a gun that can shoot 3 people at the same time and KILL one.”

>The 2nd Amendment affords him the absolute right to have a firearm in his home…unless he was a convicted felon.

2015 years 8 months ago


2015 years 8 months ago

FIRST OF ALL GET YOUR FACTS STRAIT, this family has been trying to seek justice for their daughters murder sense the day it happened, the media is just now making it a public matter now the Trayvon Martin case has arisen. so being even more disturbing fact is that it took one racially motivated murder to bring to light another racially motivated murder. Second of all you claim that Blackwell didn’t pull the trigger, as if that’s a fact that has been proven in this case, and it hasn’t. What has happened is once again police officers decided that they were going to play judge, jury and executioner, instead of arresting this man and allowing a trial to determine weather or not this was an accident or foul play. Furthermore the evidence that has was found in his home is supporting the exact opposite of what Mr black wall and yourself claim. don’t you find it at least questionable that there was a considerable amount of Nazi paraphernalia, and a confederate flag found in Mr Blackwells home? This alone without being charged with murder, would cause people to believe he was racist.
But when you combined that with him so called cleaning a weapon with the barrel pointed out the window, and might I add a weapon that is very widely known to have a defect that causes the weapon to discharge with out the trigger being pulled, would definitely cause people to speculate if he pulled the trigger himself and used the defect as an excuse. either way, this was in no way shape or form a shut and closed case. it needs to be investigated and taken to trial, and it’s sad that it took the death of Trayvon Martin to bring light to this case. it seems to me that you want to convict the victim’s family of falsely accusing someone of purposely killing their child. when in actuality that is a normal reaction when someone shoots and kills another person. what isn’t normal is when someone goes to bat for the shooter without knowing the facts. it causes me to wonder if this were a black man that killed someone would you just is easily defend his excuse that it was an accident? I highly doubt it.

2015 years 8 months ago

He did take it pro bono, I know personally.

2015 years 8 months ago

It’s a real shame what happened to this young lady. It’s an absolute atrocity that the man who committed this heinous crime wasn’t arrested. I do not believe this was an accident by the least bit, especially now that you’re mentioning the confederate flag he had in his house.

Even if he’s “claiming” this was an accident, he should have still been arrested!!! If people want to own guns so much – then they need to be responsible for any and every action that occurs as a result of their gun. Accident or not – if your gun kills someone – you need to go to jail for life! If our government doesn’t make people responsible for their actions with a gun, we are all at risk.

I do not think this was an accident, and this racist idiot should get the death penalty, if the state has one.