make WWAY your homepage  Become a fan on facebook  Follow us on twitter  Receive RSS Newsfeeds  MEMBERS: Register | Login

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.

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.


You sir

ARE A MORON! First NOBODY punched the LIFE out of anyone. He got hit in the chin which I would hardly call a deadly blow under normal circumstances. Let me tell you this. IT IS WELL WITHIN MY RIGHTS to defend myself AND TO USE DEADLY force when necessary to protect my life. NOW, this guy wasn't using deadly force, it was an ACCIDENT. Again, I know it is hard for college age kids to understand, but consequences are sometimes VERY harsh. Unfortunately, college kids don't use good judgment sometimes, but as an adult you have to be willing to suffer consequences for your actions. Consequences include things that we never bargained for sometimes.

As one of those "college

As one of those "college kids" that you speak of, I really don't appreciate your implications that this happened because he was a "college kid". And I REALLY don't appreciate the fact that you are implying that "college kids" are the only people that don't use good judgment. Don't be so condescending and arrogant. Adults are very capable of using poor judgment and I'm fairly sure that you, as an "adult", have also used poor judgment at some point. I don't care if he was 20 beers deep and filled to the brim with prescription drugs, it still wouldn't make whats happening right now ok. If nothing else, at least have some respect and stop berating him for drinking and using drugs and attempting to help a friend, and more or less blaming him for this tragic incident. He didn't deserve to die...even if he is a "college kid".

Good call Ben, at least we have a good DA here.

First of all I think Ben David is a lazy and biased DA. I think that maybe all of this bs media and rumors and political bullshit got to his head. Also, I don't appreciate at all how our friend is now being slandered and his killer is like a freakin Saint. Sorry he didn't know he could step outside to smoke a cigarette in a safe neighborhood without being jumped by several men probably much drunker than him. Also, when Sam's friend comes in the house screaming for help and basically running for his life, it kind of points me in the direction of NOT SELF DEFENSE. Personally I think that Mr. Collins should take a moment and realize that he killed someone for no reason. Also, I think that Mr. David should realize what the hell he's doing letting a murderer off. I don't know where his testimonies came from but i sure never saw nor heard any of that. I can assure you at a party with all of us "drunken idiot kids", if a fight broke out there would be more than two people outside, especially when we were all close friends. Anyways, has anyone ever heard of a two-sided fight that lasts less than 10 minutes with one side of the fight walking off not wounded, and the other side with one dead and one with very visible facial injury. Dig deep into your brains people and think about it.

DA's Statement

People need to stop reading these news articles and get the real facts of how the decision was made to not press charges and what happened that night according to Sam's friends. You can find all of this in the DA's statement on UNCW's website!

the thing is..

The thing is that the district attorney's statement doesn't include anything that we told the police that night. It's very ambiguous and I don't think ambiguity is the way to go when it comes to pressing charges (or not!) in a homicide investigation.


There is obviously more to this story then what is told. Why didn't anyone help him after he was knocked down? Why did the attacker flee the scene? This seems to me like an attempt to prevent this from becoming a racial issue which it potentially could be. The black community would not just sit back and say oh, it was my kids own fault he got killed. That white kid that hit him and ultimately caused his death is completely innocent. This district attorney is taking the safe route to avoid racial tension. Completely unacceptable in my opinion. please respond.

Double standard

god help us if the races were reversed!! jesus christ, a white boy found innocent of killing a black boy in self defense?? hah, not in the usa. There would be riots, protests, marches,outrage and such among the black community right now... we all know that and don't deny it. that would be the case right now in wilmington and we would make headline news. this story will just stay local. in a way i'm glad it wasn't the other way around.... i do drive to wilmington occasionally to shop at the mall, and i would hate to be even more scared than i am coming into the city from brunswick county.

Let's stick to the basics, a

Let's stick to the basics, a young man was in a fight with another young man and unfortunately died as a result, the basic facts, this was not a racially motivated incident, therefore race plays no factor. Is it hard to believe that not all black people are habitual criminals? Or,that they are capable of making honest mistakes I am sure this young man did not go on a hunt to kill a white man.




It's spelled ludicrous. Not ludacris. God, why do people think slang is attractive? I'm not saying I don't agree with your overall statement, just that I think the use of slang "dumbs" it down. A lot. Use correct grammar and spelling. It makes you sound a lot more intelligent and gives you much more credibility.

DA's Statement

Read the Da's statement on the UNCW website. It explains more about their decision and what happened that night! This article doesn't explain anything well.

Read the DA's statement on

Read the DA's statement on UNCW's website it explains more about their decision and what happened that night!

SeaHawk Six now?

Do we now have a reverse case of the Jena Six thing going on? Except that here the victim died? Should we call this episode the SeaHawk Six?

i don't think anyone meant

i don't think anyone meant to kill sam. i mean you have to realize that when you're around a bunch of people who drink and smoke and do drugs and you also participate in those activites, you're putting yourself at risk of danger. shit happens when you fuck around with the wrong people. this should be an eye opener for all the people in with that crowd. a shit load of punk kids who fucked up way too early.

hey buddy

I don't think that Collins meant to kill Sam when Collins and posse decided to jump them, I really don't. I didn't know that smoking put you at risk for getting beaten to death. Note taken. It is an eyeopener to those of us that were there and all of his friends--it's not ok to go out in your own front yard in a nice neighborhood to smoke a cigarette at 1 in the morning. Sam was not with the wrong crowd when he was killed. He didn't hang around with the wrong crowd. I think myabe I'm misinterpreting and the wrong crowd you're talking about is Collins and posse. I sincerely hope so.


Sounds like you didn't learn the FULL lesson here at all. Number one, he OR ANYONE else under age shouldn't have been drinking. Next, NOBODY should have been doing ANY drugs. You do the crime, something bad happens....YOU SHOULD BE PREPARED to suffer consequences. I don't think ANYONE learned anything here by the posts listed. Too bad.

Listen Up

First of all, the wording that is being used by the media about the conditions of the police "finding" Sam's body needs to be changed. I was at the home when my friend Sammy was killed. We, at the home, found him, not the police. We called 911; they didn't just stumble across his body. (They don't deserve that much credit.) They make it out to be that no help was sought and that we just left him there. That’s not the case at all. What the news also doesn’t tell you is that he was prescribed Xanax. I cannot believe these clowns are turning this into an anti-substance rally and more importantly, letting a murderer walk free. Yes there was underage drinking, but you're an idiot if you think this is the only time that happens. The murderer, Jeffrey Collins, is of legal age but we have no idea how drunk or high he was. Why is that I wonder? Because after using "justifiable force", he fled the scene. Most people that are "attacked" for no reason (as he says he was) report it to the police; this guy ran and hid. Isn't it convenient that the criminal justice major was able to talk his way out of any charges at all? I thought so too. I wonder what happened to the other two guys that were identified as being with Collins when this happened. I find it remarkable that Collins was able to kill Sammy and injure his friend pretty badly all on his own. The real deal is that Sammy and his friend walked out front of the house and while they were talking, saw a group of guys (with Collins), and offered to sell Lil’ Wayne concert tickets to them. The group made a comment about the rapper, Sam’s friend made one back, and the group of guys Collins was with jumped Sammy and his friend. Thank you Mr. DA for not filing charges against those for underage drinking. I thought you had a homicide investigation to press charges for. Maybe you now that you have all this free time, you can spend it fighting the more important crime--underage drinking. If he would have been completely sober, would the circumstances be different? Would charges have been filed? Why aren’t charges being brought against this man for killing someone else? Period.

NO, you listen up.....

.....and while your at it grow up. Sorry for your loss. Now I'm going to explain a few things to you. First, everybody knows that you guys called 911,(and a neighbor who also complained about the party). When the News people say Police found a body tonight, it dosent mean they are trying to take credit for it. They don't get bonuses for "finding" dead bodys any more than writting underage drinking tickets. So your little snide comment of "They don't deserve that much credit" you can shove up your snot nose little ass. You don't want the Police to come to your dead friend don't call 911. Second,"letting a murderer walk free." THERE WAS NO MURDER! An arguement could be made for involuntary manslaughter, but I don't have all the info from the investigation so unlike you and your young friends I'll pass on that. It's 100% not MURDER so stop calling it one. Third, (this one I laughed out loud about) "Isn't it convenient that the criminal justice major was able to talk his way out of any charges at all?" I've never found any UNCW or CFCC Criminal Justice Major to have the vaugest of ideas whats going on in that field (myself included when I was just a young wanna-be CJ kid). Had Sam been sober it would not have changed the results from the decision by the DA. When two people activly engage in a fight then bad stuff can happen. But don't play "what if's" or "coulda, woulda, shouda's" because thats not what happened. It is what it is and hopefully all of you will learn from this. This has everything to do with underage drinking, drugs and a lack of responsible behavior on everyones part. No single person is to blame unless you want to blame Lil Wayne, he's a thug. Funny how a guy died and somehow this Gangsta Crapper's name comes up.


and your "friend" was on both prescribed drugs, PLUS he was STUPID enough to be drinking and doing OTHER drugs while on it. The gene pool thins out quite well during college years. Harsh statement, but stupidity ABOUNDS at that age.

This has Race written all over it

If the victim were black and the assailant white this would already be a national story with civil rights leaders crawling all over the place. This kind of explanation from the D.A. would NEVER be accepted by the black community especially in the wake of the Jena 6 hoopla. The D.A. has to be very cautious of the race issue in these days and times. With what happened to Peyton Strickland and this poor boy the black community should see that as far as in Wilmington it is not always them that gets the short end of the stick.


Thats not how we roll though is it...


This is not just another comment made by an outraged friend of sams... This is someone who has dealt with the court systems in NC and no matter how much i talked trash about them before, i had no idea they were this bad... god i cant even talk right now because this is so horrible!!1

hard way

hey the kid messed with the bull and got the horns. I cant say I disagree with the outcome since it is self defense. Some people need to learn the hard way that they are not ten foot tall and bullet proof.

no one deserves to die you

no one deserves to die you idiot, i dont know where you were raised but no twenty year old ever deserves to die as punishment, and whoever said he thought he was ten foot tall? theres a difference b/w trying to help a friend and thinking you are ten foot tall, you must be one of those "adults" that know everything

Actually, there are plenty

Actually, there are plenty of 20-year-old people out there who deserve to know, the ones who rape, kill, molest, and who sell drugs to little kids. So yeah, I think there are plenty of "20-year-old kids" who have done things deserving death. Did Sam? No. He's not one of those.


and YOU sir must be one of those "kids" who know everything with about a half of a second of REAL life experience. Once you get out of college, get married, have a few'll see how UTTERLY STUPID you were in college and how much you REALLY knew as opposed to what you THOUGHT you knew! Nobody deserves to die for something so silly, but they do...EVERY DAY people die in freak accidents. It's called LIFE...and after you graduate...WELCOME TO THE WORLD cause you haven't even begun to taste the REAL one yet.

Tragic accident

This is no doubt a tragedy for all involved. This was a good old fashioned fist fight that ended terribly. This young man engaged in a fight with another young man. Happens every day in America. No charges are filed because in the United States, you have a right to defend yourself with JUSTIFIABLE means. The boy who was attacked didn't hit him with a brick, shoot him or stab him. He punched him in the chin. That is self defense to the letter. Unfortunately, a one in a million accident occurred. Maybe the other boys should have stayed and called 911 when he didn't immediately get up. But ask yourself this; when you were a teenager and got into a fight, when the fight was over, did you hang around? No you didn't. A bunch of KIDS being kids handling things with their fists instead of GUNS and KNIVES. The DA is 100% correct no to prosecute. Now the families move on and we as society try to figure out a way to PREVENT it from happening again. Everyone needs to keep all these kids and their families in your prayers. One family is burying a child and another child has to live his life knowing he killed someone. Albeit an accident, someone is still dead and you can't change that.


The guy that killed Sambo is not a teenager. He is 22 years old and graduates from Wilmington this year as a criminal justice major. No one stuck around after the fight because no one was there to watch it. No one was there to watch it because when Sam's friend tried to come in for help because THEY were the ones being jumped, not Collins AND HIS FRIENDS (which the media fails to mention he even has friends with him), 2 other guys grabbed him and wouldn't let him go in. Consider the case where the 12 year old boy killed the 6 year old girl in Florida using wrestling moves. I think that he accidentally killed her but he's been sentenced to life imprisonment. Yes, it is tragic. I'm sure Collins didn't mean to kill him but the fact is, he did. None of the evidence points to premeditation which rules out being charged with murder but I think involuntary manslaughter would be appropriate. Boys get in fights all the time and I hope people learn something from Sammy's death.


I think involuntary manslaughter would it if the DA wanted to pursue it. I understood the media to say both were around 19 or 20 years old. I stand corrected.


WON'T...they will continue to drink and do drugs and think they are invincible. The same people at that party will be doing the EXACT same thing this weekend...I would bet a years salary on it!