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

READ MORE: Slain teen's family press DA for answers in suspicious death

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.

Disclaimer: Comments posted on this, or any story are opinions of those people posting them, and not the views or opinions of WWAY NewsChannel 3, its management or employees. You can view our comment policy here.


Remington rifles have a

Remington rifles have a flawed trigger mechanism which sometimes causes them to fire even with the safety engaged. They have had many lawsuits brought against them. Unfortunately, there is a good chance that this is the case here.

Many suits filed...

...few succeed.

When properly maintained, assembled and used correctly, the Remington Model 700 is as safe as any rifle made.

If they were prone to accidental discharge, why would the Army, Marine Corps, and Navy swear by them?

Model 700

They would use them for the same reason they used an M-16 that was prone to jamming until they added a forward assist. It's money and politics, Common, you KNOW that.

Actually, when the M-16 had problems...

...they were fixed fairly quickly because they were so bad. Plus, keep in mind that M-14 production had been ordered stopped by McNamara. They had to hurry because there wasn't any good fall-back plan available.

In addition to the forward assist mechanism they plated the chamber with chrome and added a stiffer buffer assembly to slow the cyclic rate of fire. Remember, too, that half the problems were caused by the ammo leaving such a horrendous amount of residue and absolutely no adequate training on first echelon maintenance for an entirely new rifle. (I still think the M16A1 and 5.56mm were useless until the A2 conversion, which actually turned the M16 into an exceptional infantryman's rifle.)

The military doesn't screw around with crappy firearms...and you KNOW how they feel about accidental discharges. How many young lieutenants' careers are ended because of failing to clear a pistol correctly while changing over the OD?

If the 700 had problems, they'd be long gone out of the inventory. Instead, they've been here for over forty years. Yes, many have aftermarket triggers, but many more have factory Walkers that are simply tuned by the armorers. Plus, they are kept clean.

The most telling issue (to me) is that no one can duplicate these alleged accidental discharges. Why? I think it's an easy "out" for people who screw up and launch this guy. Why would he have a loaded rifle in his house and why would he be screwing around with it while it was loaded?

Hey Common

you know what really stinks in liability damage lawsuits? The blood sucking attorney gets more of the award than the injured parties.

Case in point -- the former Senator who is currently on trial in Greensboro.

Politics and monetary

Politics and monetary everything else in government of all levels.

Did I misread?

the high profile attorney from out of state wants to hold the gun maker accountable?

By all means the deceased's survivors should have closure on this; and if the shooter was in fact responsible, he should be held accountable.

But rather than appearing to be an attempt to secure justice for the deceased, the attorney's comments lead one to think this is all about money.

Sorry to say it; but that's the appearance.

Tom, you can take that to the bank

Deep pockets, plain and simple.

There are approximately 75

There are approximately 75 separate lawsuits pending against Remington alleging that this model rifle misfired without the shooter pulling the trigger. So, Remington certainly knows that there might be problem with this particular rifle.

If there is in fact a flaw in this gun's design that the manufacturer is aware of, I think it's appropriate to hold them responsible monetarily. They haven't issued a recall, much less a warning about the possibility that there could be an issue with this rifle. If a company sells a flawed product that causes the death of someone, they absolutely should be made to pay. This was an innocent girl minding her own business when she was killed.

What would you do if loved one of yours was killed because a company manufactured a product that they knew was flawed, and decided not to act on that knowledge? Would you just say "oh, well" and let it go? I doubt it.

The other option is that the rifle owner in Chadbourn actually meant to shoot, in which case he should be held responsible rather than the Remington.

Either Remington or the shooter is definitely responsible; the trick is to figure out which one.

Why can no one duplicate it?

For all these wild claims of accidental discharges, why has no one been able to duplicate it without first monkeying with the rifle?

As I have asked previously, who loads a high-powered rifle IN their house and then lets the muzzle cross a line where it endangers people. If you're working on a rifle, you use dummy cratridges.