Faking death saved man’s life

Apr. 03, 2013 @ 06:55 PM

A man with a slit throat pretended to breathe his last breath so his assailants would leave during an armed robbery last April.

The details of the armed robbery and attempted murder were told in Durham County Criminal Superior Court on Wednesday by Assistant District Attorney Charlene Coggins-Franks during a bond hearing for John Henry Bailey Jr., 38, of N.C. Highway 55, Durham.

Bailey is charged with two counts of robbery with a dangerous weapon, two counts of conspiracy to commit a robbery with a dangerous weapon and attempted murder.

He is being held in the Durham County Jail under a $2.1 million dollar bond. He asked the court to reduce his bond to between $75,000 and $100,000.

Bailey and co-defendant Barry Lamont Bradley, 37, are accused of robbing and assaulting two people in two days, Coggins-Franks said.

In the first robbery, on April 10, 2012, a 53-year-old man had just gotten off a city bus on Old Oxford Road when two men approached him. One put him in a choke hold and held a knife, and the other man also held a knife on him, she said.

One of the robbers choked him until he passed out. When he woke up later, his shoes and socks and other belongings were missing, Coggins-Franks said.

The next day, a 19 year-old man was found near death on Danube Lane. Later, when he recovered, he told police that he sold marijuana and cocaine from his grandmother's front yard and that two men had approached him in the yard.

One of the men put him in a choke hold, while the other man stabbed him numerous times until he fell in a ditch, Coggins-Franks said.

"He begged them not to kill him," she said.

One of the men got a stump and started hitting him in the head with it, she said.

"Slit his throat! Slit his throat!" Coggins-Franks quoted one of the men as saying to the other.

So they did, she said.

"He made a sound like he was dying," she said.

The assailants left. By the time someone found the victim, he was near death and rushed to Duke University Hospital for treatment of his various wounds.

Both victims picked out Bailey as one of the men who robbed him, she said.

Bailey has an extensive record dating back to 1994 that includes assaults, robberies, child abuse and larcenies, Coggins-Franks said.

Defense attorney Randy Griffin told the judge that Bailey insists he's innocent of the charges.

Bailey was born in Durham and has two children, Griffin said. He lives with his mother, and she, his aunt and his girlfriend were in court to support him. He worked for his uncle doing concrete work before his arrest, Griffin said.

After listening to the arguments for and against decreasing Bailey's bond, Superior Court Judge Reuben Young called the attorneys up to the bench to talk with them. He did not make a ruling on the bond motion. Another bond hearing will be held in front of Superior Court Judge Orlando Hudson in May, Coggins-Franks said after the hearing.

As Bailey was led from the courtroom to go back to the Durham Detention Center, he blew kisses to his family and girlfriend.