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Police: ECU student killed in self defense

The investigation into the death of a college student over the weekend is over. Sam Flinn's body was found shortly after he got into a fight at a townhome near the UNCW campus. Police know who killed him. The question today is: should the young man who threw the fatal punch be charged with a crime? After days of interviewing witnesses and reviewing evidence investigators say no one will be charged in Flinn's death. Investigators say early Sunday morning one of Flinn's friends started a fight outside of Carleton Place town homes. Detectives say Flinn jumped in and attacked Jeffrey Collins. Witnesses tell officers Collins punched Flinn in the chin, knocking him to the ground, and eventually killing him. New Hanover County District Attorney Ben David said, "Jeffrey Collins was justified in using self defense and he used reasonable force to repel an unlawful attack." Authorities say Flinn was under the influence of alcohol, Xanax and marijuana when he got hit with the fatal punch. Those substances may have also contributed to his death. "This case serves as a very tragic reminder of the dangers of drug use, especially in the very young," David said. David says many of the people involved in Sunday morning's fight were performing illegal activity such as underage drinking and using drugs. Still, he chose not to prosecute them. "It would have a chilling affect on future cases if we were to arrest witnesses for these misdemeanor offenses during a homicide investigation," David said. David had the task of telling Flinn's parents the outcome of the investigation. "The parents agreed that no criminal charges should be filed and expressed the hope that something good could come from their son's death," David said. David plans to work with the chancellor of UNCW to educate students on the dangers of underage drinking. Flinn's funeral is scheduled for Saturday in Clemmons.

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Flinn defending himself when punched

if you go to and read what a cop wrote about the death of my buddy sammy then yu will see how sam was defending Reece and himself. The report even mentions that the FOUR guys beating on Reece were the onlywitnesses to the punch that killed sammy.

district attorney ben david /actual statement

September 26, 2007 District Attorney Ben David's Statement Regarding the Death of Sam Flinn Thanks to the excellent work of the Wilmington Police Department, we now have a clear understanding of what happened in the early morning hours of September 23, 2007. Now I want to speak to you about what those facts mean in legal terms. Everyone closely involved in the investigation, from the police to the prosecutors, is united in concluding that no one should be criminally charged in this tragic incident. This case serves as another example of the close working relationship between WPD and the District Attorney's Office, and our joint commitment to embrace a police/prosecutor team approach to seek justice in homicide cases. WPD first notified me at 3:30 am and I personally responded to the police station early Sunday morning, and have remained actively involved in the investigation since that time. Senior Assistant DAs from my office have worked closely with the detectives over the past few days to ensure that all leads were exhausted and the truth of what occurred is known. Also, we have carefully researched the controlling criminal law of North Carolina that applies to this situation. As in all cases, we have followed a process of applying the facts to the law, and have come to a decision that is warranted under the circumstances. The facts are clear that the victim's friend, Doug Reece, initiated the conflict with Jeffery Collins that ultimately led to Sam Flinn's participation in the fight. At some point during the confrontation, Mr. Collins struck Mr. Flinn, causing an injury that proved to be fatal. A person who deliberately brings on a fight by word or action has committed the criminal offense of an affray. A review of the facts discloses that Mr. Reece unlawfully assaulted Mr. Collins. Mr. Flinn attempted to intervene in an effort to assist Mr. Reece, who was the wrongdoer in this confrontation. In this circumstance, the law authorizes Mr. Collins to act in self defense against both Mr. Reece and Mr. Flinn, as he was not the initial aggressor. In the exercise of self defense, a person cannot use more force then is reasonably necessary to repel an attack. Mr. Collins was confronted with a non-deadly threat and responded appropriately with matching force, i.e., the use of his fists as opposed to any type of deadly weapon. The Medical Examiner concluded that the injuries to Mr. Flinn's body are entirely consistent with those suffered during an unremarkable fist fight. The medical authorities also found the cause of death to be a brain hemorrhage that is typical of one suffered by someone who is intoxicated and receives a blow to the chin. The physical evidence from the autopsy is corroborated by the accounts of numerous eyewitnesses. Although the injuries to Mr. Flinn proved to be fatal, the amount of force that Mr. Collins employed was a measured response to the unlawful actions of Mr. Reece and Mr. Flinn. Further, the law does not impose a duty to retreat in this circumstance. Jeffery Collins was justified in the use of self defense and he used a reasonable amount of force to repel an unlawful attack. The fact that the consequences were both severe and unintended does not elevate a tragedy to a crime. Earlier today, we spoke with the family of Mr. Flinn and informed them of our decision not to prosecute anyone in connection with the death of their son. We expressed our deep sympathy for their loss, but explained to them that we will not compound this tragedy by pursuing criminal charges that are neither supported by the law nor the facts. The parents agreed that no criminal charges should be filed and expressed the hope that something positive could be learned from their son's death. They asked for privacy and that they not be contacted by the press in their time of grief. During the course of this investigation, witnesses admitted to illegal activity, including underage drinking, illegal drug use, and an affray. In this regard, I decline to take any criminal action for two reasons: First, there is no nexus between the crimes which occurred and the death of Mr. Flinn sufficient to charge anyone with an offense of criminal homicide. Second, I do not believe that it is in the public's interest to charge anyone with the other listed offenses. In conducting the interviews of witnesses, the police needed the cooperation and honesty of many people who admitted to their own unlawful behavior. It would have a chilling effect on future cases if we were to arrest witnesses for these misdemeanor offenses in the context of a homicide investigation. Also, in this particular case, many of those involved are probably suffering under their own form of self-imposed punishment. This case serves as another tragic reminder of the dangers of drugs and alcohol, particularly in the hands of the very young. I have shared our findings with Chancellor Rosemary Depaolo of The University of North Carolina at Wilmington. I remain committed to working with UNCW and local law enforcement to address the problems associated with off-campus parties. Sincerely, Benjamin R. David District Attorney

This is crazy!!!!

I can not believe how you are justifying the death of this young man!! How do you live with yourself? There should have been at least manslaughter charges. There is no justice in this case!! I hope you and Jeffery Collins rot in hell!!! Sam did not deserve to die and that punch had to be pretty hard to kill him. No matter how you slice this...he was murdered and Jeffery Collins did it and to blame drinking, drugs, and everyone else is just unbelievable. College kids drinking and smoking pot has been going on for decades how come the police can not control that...should we blame them too!! Adults are doing the same thing as well I guess everyone that drinks and smoke pot deserves to die!! Your example that you just set for these kids and this community are disgusting and I am sure when this happens again they will use this case as their defense I am embarrass that you are the DA and judging by the comments if we had a jury, Jeffery Collins would be found guilty. My heart goes out to the family and to his friends who were there and know the truth. Jeffery Collins showed no remorse, he left the scene of the crime. Is that the action of an innocent man who claimed self defense? I know it and you know it is not!!!! Maybe you should be honest with yourself if this happened to your child what would you do? I beleive the family is to upset to go though anymore but justice should of came though for them. You and Jeffery Collins have to live with this....I hope it haunts you forever.


I just read the comments posted by all you people who have no idea what in the hell you are talking about! First off, you shouldn't be bashing a dead person and saying he deserves what he got! You IDIOTS were not there and don't know him so shut your damn mouths. I showed up at the scene of the crime shortly after Sam Flinn's "MURDER", and have to say that I'm very upset with the police departments investigation! Did any of you know that the police failed to get statements from many of the people that were there? I saw many people just walk away from a murder scene unquestioned! This is including many of Sams close friends that came out from the house as soon as their friend came in saying they were just jumped. THis is includinmg the friends that were holding Sam in their arms when the police arrived. How the hell does this happen? There needs to be some justice here! This was not a case of self defense! Here's why: Collins and his entourage trespassed onto the property where Sam Flinn and his friend were. SELF DEFENSE??? Sam and Friend = 2 Collins and friends = 3 (possibly 4 ppl as stated by some eyewitnesses) SELF DEFENSE??? The attackers ( Collins and friends) came back to the scene of the crime a couple minutes after the assault! There was another confrontation with words when these idiots came back! By this time some of Sams friends from in the house were outside taking care of him and had already called the police. There was almost another confrontation but it didn't happen because they found out the police were coming. Collins and associates asked friends of mine if "they wanted to end up like their friend (Sam)?" HOW IS THIS SELF DEFENSE??? SO lets see.... the DA is putting all his eggs in one basket on the statement that Collins and friends made. The 3 or 4 males had plenty of time to get their stories straight before turning themselves in. On the other side however, we have the statement of one single person involved in the fight. The other person involved, unfortunately can't tell his side of the story because his was murdered. With that said, all you people who are talking out of your ass....just shut your mouths! You have no right to comment and make light of someone departed. He did not deserve what happened and he needs justice! I don't care if he was smoking crack and shooting heroine that night.... it's not what caused him to die.Several Blows to the head is what caused his tragic death. Do you people know that his attackers were also drinking and under the influence? So should they have died too? Sam Flinn was an amazing person from what I knew of him. He was always smiling and laughing. He was a very easygoing young man. He was in college and going to make something of his life. He will be greatly missed.

Don't be stupid

I know Jeffrey Collins from High School and he is a good person. If you have so much knowledge about this incident then maybe you should go to the police. Not to mention, Flinn's parents even said not to press charges. If all of these so called witnesses were so called friends of Flinn's why didnt they come forward? Maybe because they know Flinn and his friend were in the wrong. The police investigation is correct and you need to get over it. Collins swung at a guy who jumped in a fight and it just happened to be a fatal blow. GET OVER IT!!!


If you have so much information that could change the outcome of this situation I think you should go to the police dept. and have your statement taken along with all your other "witnesses", call the DA and request to talk about the situation and that you have new evidence. All you're doing is yelling on a blog and that is doing no good. If you have "credible" information, get it in the report otherwise you are doing your friend no good.

No morale values

RIP sammy all i have to say is this justice system is garbage.My friend has now died in vien and the case is aparently closed.They flee from the scene,are on drugs as well and they try to say its self defense.It shouldnt matter if it was a accident,Collins should have enough morale value to know his wrongings.Like someone said kid in florida has life in jail for practicing wrestling moves on his nieghbor,they both agreeded to do it and it turned out bad.He ends up in jail for the rest his life and yet Sammys kiler walks away with just heart full of guilt(I hope).Sam didnt desreve this , and you people are thinking this is about alchol and people need to wake up.There are too many scenerios that i could use to demonstrate accidents that happen but you still are responsible no matter what.In the end God knows the truth.I dont wish death apon anyone but i hope this kid gets whats coming to him whether it be life of guilt or jail time. God will have to make up for the lack of this justice system.Man up and take responsibilites for your action.You killed a kid with your bare hands and you run away, and you get away with it.KARMA's a B**** oh and PS. if you think this is about underage drinking and it wouldnt of went down like it did, then you are the ignorant one.R.I.P. SAMMY

The victim was on drugs to

Did you not read the part where the victim had drugs and alcohol in his system? How many times did Collins hit him...ummm...1? Lucky punch that's it

WITN's comment NAZI would not post this opinion.

I saw the best friends of the deceased crying that someone needs to be held accountable on TV. I agree 100% and they need only look in the mirror to find the persons they should hold accountable. They each and every day had opportunity to intervene and help the young man stop drinking alcohol, doing drugs and acting violently. They did nothing. Young men and at this age rarely listen to adults and are very receptive to their peers and friends. Grow up and start holding yourselves accountable when you allow your friends to spiral out of control, oh but you won't cause then you won't be "cooL". Oh PLEASE! WITN's comment NAZI wouldn't post this comment. WWay e m b r a c e free speech!

don't call anyone names or they can kill you

An offer for concert tickets resulted in someone calling the artist a name and questioning their manhood and that resulted in a non-racial name being offered back after an attempt to find out what artist that offended person really liked. That is apparently an affray so don't call anyone stupid or gay (in the non-sexual orientation context) because they can kill you as a result, in Wilmington. The DA has done what he thinks is the best under the circumstances with limited information - Sam can tell his story but apparently 2 guys really scared at least 5 with a name and they are still there to loose their temper again. Don't call anyone names in response to being insulted or they can get you too.

Like it matters, but Xanax

Like it matters, but Xanax remains in your system for up 6 weeks so lay off the kid for xanax and alcohol because he may not have taken xanax that day.



Funny how everyone forgets

Funny how everyone forgets the black slaves were sold by their black owners...Indians were killed out of not knowing... They killed there own also, but no one ever talks about any of those things, just the things that blame everyone for your misery... You really should let go of all that anger, it only eats you up inside and guess what, you have to answer for that anger also!

Red Man-Get Over It

You say Jesus but you are so angry thought that was a sin don't make angry comments then act like you know anything about Jesus or " the white man"

Shut Up

Your statment does not even make sense. White man Red man YTellow man. We live in America the melting pot there is not one race here just ignorance


I hope he helps your grammar first! Everyone in this country is free to leave if they don't like the way we live. EVERYONE in this country has had everything to gain by living here. The only people that lost ANYTHING were the American Indians. If you don't believe flights leave DAILY.


Sounds like you might need some help yourself.

Dear ignorance... Stop

Dear ignorance... Stop playing the race card...stop making judgements you got what you respect for the were not don't knwo the story. This is a tragedy from every angle....I hope you never suffer anything as horrible as this....but if you do you may find yourself with a new shut up your making yourself look completely dumb...thanks

The minority


This whole thing is tragic.

This whole thing is tragic. What is currently sticking out to me is the terrible grammar and spelling of some commenters. "Prosecuted" vs. "Persecuted". "Taken" not "takin"... Im just saying...

young man's death

I would be willing to bet that the man who hit and killed him came from a rich family which played a part in him not being arrested or even getting so much as a slap on the wrist for fighting and killing another person. It is odd that this young man was "found" dead at the end of the driveway the next morning when people saw the fight as it happened. I wonder why this killer never spent a moment in jail?

hey person... the "killer"

hey person... the "killer" was acting in self defense... and according to the law, if you are defending yourself from an attack and kill someone, it is ok... because they meant to harm you. and also, to whoever said "1st degree murder" that can't be... because the person who threw the punch did not PLAN to kill this kid... he simply threw a punch, like A LOT of people do in their lives.. to defend themselves. It was a sad accident yes, but no lawful action can, or should, be taken. and as far as people preaching "Equality" to whites because blacks get everything... please, go read "in the matter of color" or "color of justice" and you'll see the truth about race and how people of color are sentenced/prosecuted/and just about everything less than whites. Don't be ignorant.

... And I would be willing

... And I would be willing to bet that ignorant presumptions like yours are the reason that most of this crap was posted on here in the first place. I grew up with Jeffrey. He comes from a great family, and money has nothing to do with it, regardless of anything else that happened. Get your facts straight.

Just as an addition to this

Just as an addition to this report, the police did not find the body, we "unresponsible kids" inside ran outside to find our friend unconscious and called 911. So they did not find the body the next morning, we called within 20 minutes of it happening. Thank you.




1898 is history let it go!! What a waste of property downtown it should have been a rehab to clean up the streets of Wilmington. Times have changed not as much as some would like but there has been change. My greatgrandfather was injured in the riots in Wilmington and he was White and also minding his own business. Yeah he got over without a statue or check or lawsuit so let it go. We have bigger issues to deal with . Like those regardless of race, sexual preference or religion who are tired of the gang bangers,drug dealers and criminals invading everyones space . We need to use that space on 3rd for rehabs or more prisons.

Yes it is

And that's obvious with your post. In 2007 it's reverse racism. United Negro College Fund, NAACP, Black Entertainment Television, Miss Black USA...


SHUT UP....nothing is like it was in 1898 and if you believe that you can pack your stuff up and move to Liberia where any person of color can get a glimpse of what their lives would be like if they didn't suffer thru slavery here in the US. This has NOTHING to do with race and those that post to that effect are IDIOTS.

Race is always an issue

Race will always be an issue because some races can't let it go. Sad but True

how audacious are you people?

regardless of race or drugs.... what that DA is saying is that it was okay for Collins to kill Sammy because he was drunk. Great way to send a message to the next generation, who is already doing harder drugs than those being discussed here, saying that its okay to start a fight with someone WHILE YOU ARE INTOXICATED (since Collins no doubt was as well) over something so petty as a rapper and kill them as long as they were messed up and it was self defense. Great justice system we obviously have. A lot of people on here keep talking about how there are consequences for the choices we make, well Collins chose to throw a punch that killed someone so where's his consequence? And you people that are posting on here acting astounded and appalled that there are kids underage drinking, did you not ever go to college? I mean do you honestly think there aren't a million other kids out right now doing the same thing? If you do then you are obviously very naive and need to just step back from this because you couldnt possibly have something of value to say. How dare some of you sit there and try to justify what this guy did to our friend by turning all of this into some huge anti-drug or alcohol example. What gives you the right to get on here and offend someone you didnt even knows memory and family and friends by saying things like it was his consequence or he was with the wrong crowd? Look at those statements before you tell anyone else how ignorant they are.