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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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You're an idiot...

for thinking that underage drinking is the cause of him being killed.


Lets see here, had he NOT been illegally drinking alcohol...had he NOT been doing ILLEGAL drugs...he would MOST likely had the frame of mind to think things thru a little better...Drinking makes you STUPID and people do STUPID things when they drink. While underage drinking wasn't the DIRECT cause of his death, it sure did contribute to it didn't it? Had he been away from illegal activities doing other things...this would have NEVER happened.

No, its not murder....

"...but you people are forgetting that this is STILL MURDER." If the DA and the Police say it wasn't Murder then it was not Murder. You may think its Murder but based on the investigation you cant make up the rules as you go.....Maybe you should go to Law school.

Passed off so casually as his own fault

I can't buy that it was self defense when a person is left dead on the street. Why wasn't he assisted when he was down, the police and an ambulance called? He was just left there?


What do you mean...just because someone was left in the street doesn't mean that A) The guy KNEW he had just killed someone OR B) He wasn't helped Back when I was in college and was into the drinking scene...had I knocked someone out cold I probably would have taken off myself. I wasn't there, I am going on what the article states, which is what the police report shows. I'm sorry, if you are defending yourself from an attack YOU SHOULDN'T be charged. What's next, someone comes into my home to rob me and I cannot defend myself, GOD FORBID someone dies, especially the perpetrator. Again, self do drugs, drink and get stupid...YOUR 18 NOW...your an adult..take responsibility for your actions. Just like in another case in this county...sometimes the consequences for your actions are FAR GREATER than you ever imagine or deserve. Nobody deserves to die for something so stupid, but accidents happen like this EVERY DAY.


A 911 call was made. He was NOT just left there. I understand that when all the stories say his body was "found", you would assume no help was called but it was. The police didn't just stumble across his body, we called them to come. There was an ambulance, a fire truck, and about 10 cop cars. We did everything we could by calling for help for him. CPR was performed until help arrived. None of you people know what happened. I was there. Check your facts.

Isn't Involuntary

Isn't Involuntary manslaughter the correct charge for this situation...there would be mayhem and threats of riots if the races were opposite.

Manslaughter charges should have been brought

If you kill somebody driving a car, even though you didn't mean to, the fact that you drove the car in such a way that it caused a person's death, you are charged. How is this different? Because we do not want another Wilmington 10, or a potentially volatile Jena 6 march here.


BUT, if someone is trying to run me off of the road and I defend myself by running THEM off of the wouldn't be. You cannot equate a fight to involuntary vehicular manslaughter.

The DA can only make his decision based upon....

witnesses and the evidence available. If it happened the way it is reported in the story, then there is no basis for filing charges against Collins. Ben David made the key point that everyone should take away from this tragedy - there's no future in getting drunk or high. When common sense and judgment take a back seat to partying, people usually suffer the cost.

the fact that sam was drunk

the fact that sam was drunk or high has absolutely nothing to do with his murder. the da and the wilmington police are trying to twist this tragedy into a anti-drinking/drug campaign. and does no one else realize that this doesnt really make sense. why would sams friend have had to run inside for help if there was just one boy and it was him and sam on collins. and if it was in fact in self-denfense then why did collins feel the need to run from the scene and where is it mentioned in this article about the two other boys that attacked sam and his friend. every witness reported that there was 3 attackers on sam and his friend. this whole thing is ridiculous

your just as bad as collins.

Guestrapper, I'm not gonna put my name as anonymous anymore because all that is is being cowardly like Collins, his friends, and now you. I wrote the previous comment of 'so completely upset' and my name is Megan Powell. I was a friend of Sam Flinn since 4th grade and I just want you to know that he was a great guy that had more going for him in life than partying like everyone likes to make it. How can you even attempt to take sides with Collins? This whole thing isn't really even about taking sides anymore, it's about committing murder, that in which Collins did and should pay for. Murder is murder, point blank. If Sam would have been one of your friends, would you still be taking the side of the person who killed HIM? I think not. So how about you not make any comments about taking a killers side and have some respect for Sam's family and friends by not responding to anymore reports with your insignificant comments. Oh and like you said, "there is no future in alcohol and drugs", yea that's your opinion but it sucks that Collin's and his friends can have a future of being free of any charges, when they committed murder.

Since you used your own name and all....

"Murder is murder, point blank." It's not Murder Megan. End of story. How about if you can't post a rational and intelligent comment then you to as well should stop with the "insignificant comments". Don't let your emotions outshine your intelligence. Look up the definintion of Murder. Sorry for the loss of your friend, as senseless as it was.


Stupidity abounds....for a young college girl, probably single to post her full name in an open INCREDIBLY STUPID!

Well, gee, Megan....

...if you have contradictory EVIDENCE, then I'd suggest that you go speak with the DA. As far as your statement that my derisive opinion of alsohol and drugs "sucks," I can only hope that when you reach the mental age of twelve, you'll start to mature.

I agree with Megan

I was there when Sam was killed GuestRapper. I'm assuming you have never seen one of your friends body get covered with a sheet. The fact that Sammy was drinking or high has nothing to do with him being killed. Bet you didn't know his Xanax was a perscription. Nope, probably not because the media doesn't tell you that. How high/ drunk was Collins when he killed Sam? Go ahead...Think about it...I've got all the time in the world... No answer? Oh. I know why. BECAUSE COLLINS FLED THE SCENE after merely using "SELF DEFENSE" (sarcasm) We'll never know what he was on. Ever. So maybe since all these people are talking about "self responsibility", they should also point out that Collins wasn't responsible for his own actions by staying put instead of fleeing with the OTHER TWO GUYS in the fight on his side. It was 3-2, not 2-1. Maybe if you read more than one article, you would see how conflicting some of the reports are. I wouldn't expect someone as simple minded as you to do that though. I mean after all, drinking alcohol means your life should be taken away, right?

everyone is saying this and

everyone is saying this and that about what happened. read what the DA had to say. if someone is hitting me you best believe that i am going to defend myself from getting hit. and that is what mr. collins did. i know if yall were in his shoes and someone is swinging at you, you would of defended yourself just like he did. want to know more then read this article. this article says all that happened. it even tells what his friends that were there said about what happened

Mallory, when I was Sam's age....

I was just finishing a tour in Vietnam, saw my best friend killed right in front of me (along with most others on the CH-53) and had killed more men than I care to count. You're right - my friends weren't covered with a sheet...they crashed in flames near Quang Tri, and their bodies weren't recovered for thirty years. Why are you even arguing with what I said? I simply said that the DA makes his decision based upon witnesses and available evidence. That's a controversial statement? You take issue with how a DA reaches his conclusion? If you or Megan know something that the DA doesn't, get off your butts and bring it to his attention. As far as my opinion regarding the general value of alcohol and drugs in shoving common sense and judgment to the back burner, you can deny that until hell freezes over, but the simple fact is that everyone involved in this episode was drunk and using drugs. Were that not the case, maybe someone would have had enogh sense to walk away before the fight started. It's amazing how testicles grow and brains shrink when bathed in alcohol. I've lived one whole-lot of life. I've been in drunken brawls from Hong Kong to Copenhagen, Jacksonville to Tokyo, and I'm telling you that NOTHING good ever comes out of being drunk or high. Nothing... I was lucky. I grew up before the endless party I called life got me killed. My drinking now consists of a glass of wine every now and then, maybe a cold beer after mowing the lawn. Never more than two. So every time you go out to party with the intention of getting drunk or high, ask yourself exactly what it does for you and why you have to do it. You're no better looking, you're no funnier, you're no stronger, you do nothing better when you're loaded.... ....but you do run the risk of getting yourself in a situation that you may not be able to walk away from. Is it worth it?


Illegal drugs and alcohol DID IN FACT contribute to his death...because of his lack of judgment. I am tired of arguing with these children. Looks like the gene pool with thin out a little more as nobody has learned a darn thing...that is the tragedy here.

first off...none of you

first off...none of you adults have grown up in our generation of "kids", and what you dont realize is that about 80 percent of the kids that i have met through out high school and college, participate in drinking and drugs. sam was a friend of mine, and yes he did like have fun just and participate in drinking and smoking like every other college student that i ever met here at ecu, but if anybody was else was put in his shoes, they would have done the exact same thing, and im tired of hearing you "adults" acting like you know everything, your not kids, and you obviously dont know what its like to be a college student now a days. the fact of the matter is, this kid died, and there were kids who got away with assualt and murder, and i think this is nuts that no one is being punished except the family and the friends of the victim who have lost him. collins didnt act alone, and i believe him and his friend who were also intoxicated and using drugs should be punished. but their not white, and the D.A. is avoiding any prosecution because of it, and the D.A. doesnt want another jena six. which is complete bs.

Guestwhatever, I just

Guestwhatever, I just graduated from college in May, so I am your age. You are right that most people our age drink and smoke at parties. However, not all do. It is a CHOICE. Most times, nothing bad happens because of that choice, but sometimes something bad does. It's a tragedy that Sammy died, that's not being disputed. However, he willingly smoked pot and willingly drank alchohol on top of his prescription. It was a stupid decision. Don't be naive and say that the substances had nothing to do with it. No one made him and his friend fight. He made a choice, and unfortunately, his choice cost him his life. It was not murder. As for Collins, he may not be punished by the law, but he has to live every day knowing that a mistake and lapse in judgement resulted in the death of a young man. He didn't get away with anything. In time, that could prove to be worse. You are a young adult, and it is time to grow up and face the music. Every action has a reaction. You can't make a choice without there being a reaction to it. Blaming everyone else for their mistakes will do nothing to help. Both sides are suffering.

What I find truly alarming... the number of young people on this topic who, like you, defend drug and alcohol use as something great.

Well, while you're tired of

Well, while you're tired of arguing with these "children" I'm sick of condescending "adults" like you assuming that because you are older you are for some reason more intelligent than us "children". Simply because we see an incident differently than you doesn't mean we're dumb. Yes, I'm in college...does that mean my opinion counts less than yours? Stop being such an arrogant "adult" and remember that you too were once one of those "children" you think so little of.

even if i was sober...i

even if i was sober...i would have done the same thing as sami did, and jump in and protect my friend fom THREEEEEE kids who were jumping him..some of you people dont even realize what happened, and even if we told the DA what happened...they DONT care, because THEY dont want a situation that puts them in trouble, and they already got the "facts" which are complete BS...stop telling us to go to the DA...CUZ WE HAVE...and they dont CARE.

Flynn police report

If you were sober.... You should know there were 4 people, Collins, Collins brother and Collins half brother and their cousin. 4 people. They were also the ONLY eye witnesses to what happened. Reece had run inside to get help.