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Charged officer's attorney tells more about BSL shooting


WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) -- A day after a Southport police officer turned himself in on a voluntary manslaughter charge, his lawyer is speaking out.

Attorney James Payne says Det. Bryon Vassey handled the situation that ended in 18-year-old Keith Vidal's death the best he could. Payne says Vassey acted honorably on Jan. 5 when he shot and killed the schizophrenic teen in Boiling Spring Lakes.

Payne says a body mic on one of the other officers reveals what he believes really happened that sunday afternoon.

He says at some point during the struggle Vassey saw Vidal make a stabbing motion with a pick toward BSL Ofc. John Thomas that was blocked.

"The next blow comes back, as we described it to Judge Hooks, there was nothing blocking that pick from Ofc. Thomas's head," Payne said.

Payne also said that Vassey at no point said, "I don't have time for this. Taze him," as Vidal's father has claimed.

Payne says moments after the fatal shot was fired Vassey spoke to Thomas about what had just happened.

"Det. Vassey says to Det. Thomas, and it's caught on video, as well, 'I had no choice,' and Ofc. Thomas said, 'I know, I know,'" Payne said.

Southport Police Chief Jerry Dove says he is meeting with District Attorney Jon David in the next few days to discuss Vassey's employment. Right now, though, he says Vassey is still on paid leave.

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.


No excuse!

If the police officers in the video can arrest and handcuff this big non-cooperative woman, then those police officers should've been able to handle the little 90 pound young man! No excuse!
That detective probably should've gotten fired a long time ago before this happened! This probably wasn't the first time that he "didn't have time for this."

It Wasn't Self Defense

He should be charged with FIRST DEGREE MURDER because Byron Vassey had already made up his mind that he was going too shoot Keith Vidal before he did so. You don't say, "We don't have time for this" and then shoot someone unless you have already decided that is what you want to do. If Keith Vidal had been "trying to stab officers", then that is what Byron Vassey would have said. Vassey would have said "Put it down! That's assault on a police officer". I have NEVER heard anyone say "We don't have time for this" when trying to defend themselves. The lawyer is just trying to spin the story.

The sad part is, Vassey will more than likely get away with murder without being convicted of anything, including voluntary manslaughter which is like telling him to go sit in the corner for 5 minutes. Randall Kerrick got away with murdering, unarmed and tased, former football player, Jonathan Ferrell, who was looking for help after a car accident. Murder is becoming a habit for police departments in North Carolina, and all over.

It's people like Vassey and Kerrick that give cops a bad name, even if they aren't bad. It's people like Vassey and Kerrick that are making citizens not trust any law enforcement officials. It's people like grand juries refusing to indict murderers like, Randall Kerrick, that help add to the problems of the justice system. It's cops supporting corrupt and cold blooded killers like Vassey and Kerrick, that is making other cops think they can do the same thing and get away with it. It will only take a few of these people like Kerrick and Vassey, to be tried, convicted and executed, to prove to law enforcement everywhere that they cannot abuse and/or murder innocent people without suffering the consequences. Just because someone works in law enforcement doesn't mean they should, and it definitely doesn't make them above the law.

Former Cop gives his opinion

Here is a former police officers and academy instructors break down on this incident. He breaks down how tactically even if Vassey had to shoot the kid, why it was wrong since the police officers created the situation by rushing the kid while still armed instead of letting the Tazer do its job. This is basic police procedure they teach the new kids in the academy and this guy did not know how to handle himself?

Gotta love trolls that love to stir things up

Gotta love trolls that love to stir things up

I'm sorry; what????

What, exactly, makes a person, "human pollution?" Is there actual criteria, or is it a subjective lable? I ask this me, “human pollution,” seems like a pretty accurate description of the dregs who authored that post. Last I checked, it is 2014. I mean, I AM blonde and thus, easily confused, so please...correct me if I am mistaken. If however, I am correct, I would be remiss by not asking: how does schizophrenia render someone a "retard?" Anyone who's seen Law/Order or CSI or ANY crime show in the last 15 years, has at least a basic understanding of schizophrenia (which, by the way, affects even the most brilliant of folks). First: aside from school-children, who even uses that term as a disparagement anymore? Second: You're an idiot. And third: yyyyyyeah. You're an idiot. I can't even find adequate words to properly comment because a) you wouldn't understand a proper response; and b) generations of inbreeding have rendered your mind almost completely closed off from reality. As far as this incident goes: it's tragic. For both parties. At the end of the day though, you will never convince me that shooting this kid was the best option. I don't care how GREAT a cop Vassey was; that doesn't negate his horrible decision in *this* case. He's lucky he wasn't indicted with a hate crime. And, as far “human pollution,” the only pollution I noticed was the *retard* who authored that post.

I agree with that it was out

I agree with that it was out of line to call the victim "human pollution". What I take exception to in your post is that you are basing your expertise on television shows. Now, I like watching those shows because I find them entertaining, but neither has a full grasp of reality. The other thing I take exception to is your remark about inbreeding. It is just as much out of line as "human pollution".

::White Flag::


I concede; I have a tendency to resort to name-calling when I am frustrated. And yes, I was out of line. My apologies to any person offended by my poor choice of words. Additionally, I'd like to address an inference you made about me from my initial post. My expertise with these issues does not stem from television programs; I simply used those examples as touchstones most people would recognize. In fact, my *expertise,* is primarily based on my law degree. ...and the > 10 years working in criminal justice on BOTH sides. I also have a very strong foundation in family law and constituional rights. I teach law school classes, I've set legal precident, drafted legislation that is now law, and I have a pretty AWESOME trial record. I do not take cases simply to get paid; the majority of my work is done Pro Bono. My current case load is researching and consulting on "difficult" legal issues, such as infanticide, civil-rights restoration, juvenile justice, etc., etc. So, while yes, I did get a little emotional in my initial post, my opinions regarding the legality of the shooting of Keith Vidal are based from my actual legal expertise. (As a disclaimer: I can only comment on what I've read from various media sources; that information may very well be slanted. Thus, I may change my views with additional information about the facts of this case.)

Really? As ignorant as you

Really? As ignorant as you sound I wouldn't let anyone know I'd gone to law school if I were you.


There's a lot of sick right-wing republican fascists trolling these comments.

The Carolinas are seeing some dark times

Everyone making idiotic and ignorant comments about mental illnesses should go look up "Lebensunwertes Leben". I think you'll be surprised that not only are you ignorant, you're literally a Nazi. Maybe it's time to change that tone, eh?

Human Pollution

Its a shame that an officer will have his career either destroyed or permanently tainted because a housefull of human pollution constantly abuses the system. Records showing over 40 calls for police assistance from these degenerates is clear abuse and a waste of taxpayer dollars. Now this man will have to fight for his life in the bleeding heart liberal court system for protecting a fellow officer in the line of duty. We all know if he was a drunk driver or illegal alien and killed someone, it would be a slap on the wrist but since the family wants to tell lies in the liberal media, the district attorny has to jump right on it. He must want a high profile case that tries to get the liberal populace behind him right before election time. I wonder what he is worried about.

These people aren't human

These people aren't human pollution. They were probably utilizing the police because there were no other mental health resources to take advantage of. There is a stunning shortage of psychiatric workers in almost every county in the US (not just Drs., but a shortage of social workers, counselors, etc.). If we had a "bleeding heart" system it would get sick people to doctors instead of making us call the police on them.

Just because one type of

Just because one type of criminal doesn't get punished properly that doesn't mean that the other criminals should get away with it. You obviously have no understanding of schizophrenia. He was not human pollution. He had a mental illness. Now, I don't, in anyway, believe that Vassey got up that morning with the intent of killing anyone. I do believe that he was wrong. The dispatch records show that before Vassey got there at least one of the other officers on the scene had radioed in that the situation was under control. Why would they say that if their lives were in danger?

Amen !!!! and then this

Amen !!!! and then this honorable officer and family will probably have to go on welfare and more tax payers dollars being spent!!! all over him doing his job and that is to protect and serve...

Tired taxpayer

very nicely said. All they want is a payout I would hate to think that if I was a big fat man like the step dad I couldn't handle a 90lb kid.

You my friend must suffer your own issues.

They do not only want a payout. I happen to know the family personally. the "big fat man" may not have been able to handle the "90 lbs kid", but just in case you can't read that well, neither could 3 highly trained police officers armed with tasers, handcuffs and guns. There is no reason they couldn't have tased and cuffed. There was no need for deadly force. It was murder. PERIOD

you must understand if your

you must understand if your sworn to protect and serve and like the statement states the young man was about ready to strike the one officer. I believe its the parents fault. maybe the young man was going through DT's from all the heroin that was confiscated two days prier, that might be the reason why they couldn't control him; did you ever think of that?


The Supreme Court has ruled that Police are not constitutionally required to serve and protect an individual.

Also... he might have been implanted by an alien probe and that's why they couldn't hold him down. From the alien technology! (In addition... *prior*)

I mean really... what if scenarios are ignorant on something like this. Even if the kid had injured an officer with that screwdriver, that should most definitely not be provocation for lethal force. Even if someone has murdered someone right in front of you, there are still better ways to solve things than killing people. It baffles me how so many people are just like.... Screw It. Murder is just way easier.


I surely hope and pray to the Almighty, when this officer is exonerated of all and any charges, you people, including the yellow journalist at WWAY TV-3, have the balls to offer an apology to the detective.

State of North Carolina should be filing charges against the parents for child neglect and abuse for not properly caring for their retarded kid.

Wow. Hopefully you are no

Wow. Hopefully you are no where near my state. Go back to the Stone Age.



Deputy risk his safety to apprehend an armed man

It can be done. Brave deputies from Newberry county, SC risk their lives to save an armed and dangerous guy in a stand-off....

Grab the screw driver

One simple question. You observe a suspect with a pocket screw driver in his hand. Two other officers has the suspect on the ground. You outweigh the suspect by 100 pounds. The screwdriver appears dangerous. Do you 1) grab the hand with the screwdriver and force the hand open to remove it;)2 shoot the suspect:)3 all of the above because you don't want to be called out again for the 44th time. No manslaughter is a good charge. The officer has to state why he didn't simply grab the hand. That would take less time than drawing a handgun from its holster. This deputy has some explaining to do.

Mouthy Yankees

It seems that Yankees don't know how to keep their opinions to themselves. It also seems that many Yankees have no class and are the only ones condemning this officer with comments like "up north we did it this way". You know a good southerner would say "go back where you came from if you don't like it here".

You can't tell me any officer would intend to kill this young man in cold blood. Police officers are good people that deal with other people's crap on a daily basis. I would bet that many of the calls are caused by the influx of trashy yankees that didn't like it up north


Amen Tim you are 100% correct

Why didn't the family let

Why didn't the family let the boy kill the mother? Why call the police? because if anything went wrong, they wouldn't have anybody to sue. They couldn't handle him, so they called in a scape goat.

Hands on?

Why do cops think they can't go hands on anymore?Whimps?If someone has a gun,I can understand.If three cops cannot disarm a small kid or 19 year old man that only has a small pick,whatever,than they need a desk job or better yet another profession.I remember the days when cops would do anything not to kill, now it seems procedural,if they feel endangered to just kill.The problem is the taser.If they tase someone and it does not take them down then that gives them the right to use the thing a gun.I say get rid of the tasers and if you are going to apply for a law enforcement job well just know that you may have to go "hands on" to take someone into custody.

"Vassey acted honorably on

"Vassey acted honorably on Jan. 5 when he shot and killed the schizophrenic teen"

It's amazing how lawyers can say things like this with a straight face and still be able to sleep at night.

"a body mic on one of the other officers reveals what he believes really happened that Sunday afternoon"

"Payne also said that Vassey at no point said, "I don't have time for this. Taze him," as Vidal's father has claimed."

It's pretty easy to selectively edit an audio recording. I wouldn't be surprised if a lawyer who says killing a kid is honorable manipulated evidence.

Vassey the child Killer

1st never call the police for help...really have they ever help'd anyone
2nd up here in the northeast those cops would have never done what vassey did. See up here cops are very use to using and not using thier weapons. they also use thier fist but i guess men down thier resort to weapons huh.

just saying......

My Grandfather

My Grandfather once owned a farm mule with more common sense than you have princess. If you ever get the urge to vacation down south...Don't!