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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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your just as bad as Collins.

Guestrapper, I'm going to reply to your last comment, and no longer as anonymous because all that is is being cowardly like Collins, his juvenile friends, and now you. My name is Megan Powell and I wrote the previous comment of 'so completely upset'. I was a friend of Sam Flinn and have been since 4th grade. And just so you know, he had more going in life that partying like you and everyone like to make it seem and I just wanted to clear that up. I am in awe that you would respond to this report by taking the side of Collins. This isn't even about taking sides anymore, it's about serving justice for committing MURDER. What if Sam was one of your friends, would you still be taking sides of the person who killed HIM? I think not. So how about you do your best to not respond to any of these reports with your insignificant comments and have some respect for Sam's family and friends. Oh and one more thing, like you said earlier "there is no future in alcohol and drugs" which is your opinion,but it really sucks that Collins and his friends get to live a future free of charges after committing murder.


You show your age. NOBODY committed murder here, NOBODY. No premeditation, it was an accident. Second, your "friend" was an IDIOT for being on prescribed drugs...then going out getting drunk...UNDER AGE and doing ILLEGAL drugs on top of that. I guess no matter how much adults with a little more life experience than college age kids try to keep them out of trouble...they will continue to be STUPID and think they are invincible. All of this is an accident and people are understandably upset. Freak accidents happen. Had your friend not been breaking the law that night...he would be alive. Remember that every time you pick up a joint or beer from now on.

You know damn well that if

You know damn well that if Sam had hit and killed Jeffery Collins, a black kid, he would be facing charges. This is an outrage im glad that the DA is more concerned with targeting drug users as violent people and not damn murderers

Don't forget Ben David's record with race...

Look up the ordeal we went through a few summers ago when he ended up in court defending racial statements he made about the death penalty and Curtis Dixon. Wilmington needs someone brave enough to call these to justice and make it known that Wilmington does NOT embrace its students and makes it extremely difficult on them in multiple arenas. No one gives credit to all the money we bring in to town... everyone just points fingers, looks the other way, and tries to do damage control. Wilmington is two-faced and Ben David is their poster boy.

I was a friend of Sams and

I was a friend of Sams and this is hard for me too. This could of happened either way though. Sam could of just as easily killed the other guy, so no one should be blamed. I still am unsure of these other guys and why Sam's friend just left him to die after Sam stepped in on his friends behalf.

I'd love to know how the

I'd love to know how the black community would be reacting if a white person hit a black person and they died, then the DA didn't pursue charges.

student death

"I'd love to know how the black community would be reacting if a white person hit a black person and they died, then the DA didn't pursue charges." Al & Jeese would be on the way. Now that we know the kid that caused Flinn's death was black, the black community should feel better seems they are always complaining about how racist us whites are. Of course they will soon forget this as soon as another black/white crime happens in the opposite direction.


Why does it have to be a black and white thing????That is plain ignorance. This situation has to do with being at the wrong place at the wrong time and engaging in activities that are ILLEGAL!I feel sorry for sam and especially for his family but everyone makes a choice in life. Jeffery collins was only defending himself and besides Im sure jeffery was not the only one who swung during the fight. The same thing that happened to him could have very well happened to jeffery collins. And if you think for one minute that stuff like this has not been happening to the black community then you need to read up in your HISTORY...its been going on for decades. Everyone no matter race, culture, or gender needs to see this as a wake up call that doing drugs does not pay and stop looking at everything as racial. My prayers are going out to the family of sam flinn


and I would like to know what YOUR smoking tonight to even bring up something SO STUPID!

civil action and violation of civil rights

I wonder if any of the victims can take action under civil law for assault or under Federal Law for violation of civil rights. At least that would get the "witnesses" under oath - and there are penalties for lying under oath the last time I checked.

I'm just a little bit

I'm just a little bit confused by this article. I was at the scene and seemed to remember witnesses reporting multiple attackers on Sam Flinn and his friend. Reports from other people at the scene immediately after the incident were that Sam's friend was held down and beat by more than one man. Reading this article you think that Sam's friend decided to attack Jeffery Collins and Sam Jumped into help. This report seems to ignore every witness's statement. It's pretty convenient for Jeffery that Sam nor his friend were able to get back to the house and seek help only ten feet away, making the only witnesses to the actual fight the friends of Jeffery-who's party he had just left. Sam is made to look at fault in this report for his partying, while there is no mention of Jeffery. Probably because he fled the scene. It seems to me that the Wilmington DA has turned a murder into an anti drug campaign. They fail to mention Sam's prescription to XANAX. I wonder if the Jena 6 has anything to do with their decision not to prosecute?

When this report first came

When this report first came out, his friends said on tv that they were jumped by three black males..........personally if it would have been that way there would have been three deaths instead of one.........they were trying not to get blamed so they imagined three black guys fighting them....give me a break...........

DA's Statement

This article explains nothing. Read the DA's statement on UNCW's website. It explains how they came to their decision and what happened that night according to Sam's friends. Who puts the blame not on Collins but on Sam and his friends!

DA's statement

STOP reading the news! Read the DA's actual statement and explains WAY more about their decision and what happened that night!


This "district attorney" is out of his mind.


For what, doing the right thing? Someone attacks you and you use force to repel them. What exactly is the issue here? The fact that the kid died was a freak accident that normally doesn't happen from a punch to the chin. So what now, is everyone supposed to succumb to bullies/attackers and not defend themselves....YOU attack someone, YOU SUFFER the consequences of that attack when they defend themselves. It's called self responsibility, I know that is a VERY hard concept for many to grasp.

For..Re: Response by Guest7969

I wouldn't call the victim in this case a bully. He was defending a friend, which last time I checked was an honorable thing to do. He was not the attacker in this case...And the fact that you have equated death and "sufferring the consequences of ones actions" as synonomous in this sense is disgusting and you need to seriously consider what you are saying. Death is never warranted, especially not in this case.


I guess nobody should ever suffer consequences then huh. As you get a little older you realize that consequences are HARSH. You weigh in the "What IF" factor before taking action. By your post I can see that you haven't come to terms that sometimes your actions can cause death, whether a freak accident or by design. Realize this...EVERY ACTION YOU TAKE has a consequence...sometimes that includes death. ANYTIME you get involved in a fight it is COMMON SENSE to realize something VERY bad could happen up to and to include DEATH. I had a cousin die from a fight after getting hit and falling backwards and hitting his head. Not the other guys fault, they were both drunk and got in a fight. Death may not be warranted, but it happens whether you want it to or not. I'm not NEAR as stupid as I was at my college age...THANK GOD.

For..Re: Response by Guest7969

I wouldn't call the victim in this case a bully. He was defending a friend, which last time I checked was an honorable thing to do. He was not the attacker in this case...And the fact that you have equated death and "sufferring the consequences of ones actions" as synonomous in this sense is disgusting and you need to seriously consider what you are saying. Death is never warranted, especially not in this case.

You're Confused

Unlike me, you weren't there to see one of your friends die. He was jumped. The cops have changed their minds so many times on this story it's ridiculous. If it was self-defense, I would understand but what the cops and media don't tell you is that it was 3-2, not 2-1 like they make it out to be. Get your facts right and don't just go by one story. Thanks.


All us upstanding citizens can go by is stated facts in the police report. If you have something to add...get your rear end downtown. Unlike YOU, I wasn't there getting drunk and around illegal substances, was I? Unfortunately, testimonies are hampered when the person was drunk or involved in illegal activity. I am not accusing anyone of doing drugs, but if you are around when it is being done...YOU ARE GUILTY. Unfortunately, your friend is dead...MORE unfortunately, you probably haven't learned anything and will be right back getting drunk and stupid this weekend.

sooo completely upset

i cant believe this, yes he was in a fight and he was mostly in the wrong...but you people are forgetting that this is STILL MURDER. im so glad that this is how this world is coming out with you people running everything, what would you do if it was your child? since when does someone who commits first degree murder not get charged? cant believe it. hope you people can live with yourself from now on and to the parents of mr collins....hope you cant too, you raised a good one.


Murder is defined by law, and it requires an intent to kill someone. IF the person striking the victim, he certainly is a victim, had NO intent, it is not murder under the law. If the person who left a comment was at the scene and disagrees with police statements, the reporter(s) should dig a little deeper to find out if there were any issues. "Race" is a, in my opinion, misused term. There is one race--the Human Race. Everything else may be ethnicity or something else... Jena 6 is a separate case. The "attackers" there are guilty of a crime--perhaps they should not have been prosecuted as an adult. The "news," whether paper/print or otherwise, has limited space and rarely gets all of the relevant information into a "bit" or story. Facts, after the fact, are hard to come by--I went to the NAACP's web-site to get "facts" on what happened at Jena, but I didn't see many there, and I don't see "much" in the news either. Rather, everyone seems to be focusing on what causes "issues" or "disagreement." I think the news, print or otherwise, is now like an entertainment show--concerned more for ratings (and ad revenue and viewer numbers) than actually reporting facts. Sad, but it seems like it is true...


"yes he was in a fight and he was mostly in the wrong.." Yes, its called contributory negligence. He partially caused his own death. This is not first degree murder. Collins was assaulted by Flinn first. "im so glad that this is how this world is coming out with you people running everything," Funny you say that because none of us were there. It was your friends running this game. So who is to blame for all of your underage drinking and drug use? Not the powers that be thats for sure.

Amen I am with you.. but

Amen I am with you.. but hell in New Hanover County it is ok to take some ones life. He is not the first person to be killed here and no charges filed "Dennis Capps" no charges were filed against his killer. But that is this great town is for ya...But every one has to remember it is getting close to election time so everyone in the BIG office has to do what ever they think will keep them in office..But one day they will see just how bad they screwed up this thoughts and prayers are with the Finn family may GOD be with in your time of pain.


Since Dennis is a family member....I guess I can speak on your comment. While he didn't deserve to die...the girlfriends son didn't INTENTIONALLY kill him either. From what I know if it...the son came over to defend his mom and got in a fight. While it is unfortunate..the circumstances caused it to escalate into a fight and unfortunately Dennis died.


In order to be charged for first degree murder there has to be planning involved and INTENT. I am sure that this guy had NO intent to kill anyone. Guess what, you get in a fight you take a chance of some freak accident happening and someone dying because of it. Something as small as falling back and hitting your head on the pavement the wrong way can kill you. It has happened AT LEAST 3 times in bar fights in NHC within the last 3 years. However this happened, a fight was caused. NOBODY intended to kill anyone. Had I knocked someone out I might have took off out of fear myself. I am older now though with two children and do my best to stay out of fights for the EXACT reasons I stated above...some freak accident could leave my family fatherless.

....first degree murder

....first degree murder requires premeditation. This was in not premeditated was self defense. I will defend myself and my family. If my attacker is hurt or killed......I am sorry but I have my priorities in the correct order and will fight back. Don't forget North Carolina allows with the proper permits the carrying of a concealed fire arm. No matter what this is a travesty. Let's stop under age drinking, that seems to be the root of the problem.