Suspect in slaying had past murder charge dropped

Jun. 19, 2014 @ 05:51 PM

The man accused of killing a 33-year-old man in Chapel Hill last month had a murder charged dropped against him in April.

Brandon Shamar Townsend, 21, of Varina Drive in Durham was arrested June 18 and charged with first-degree murder and first-degree attempted murder in the May 30 murder of Lew Han Hood, 33 of Chapel Hill.

District Attorney Leon Stanback told The Herald-Sun the decision to drop the charges came after DNA evidence had yet to be received. Townsend had been in jail for two years after being accused of shooting at 13-year-old Shakanah China in May 2011.

“We had many problems with that case,” Stanback said in April.

There is still a possibility of Townsend’s being charged in China’s death if the DNA lab results incriminate him.

Townsend was not the only person arrested in connection with the May 30 murder. Bartholomew Romidas Scott of Durham was arrested shortly after the shooting on Christopher Road in Chapel Hill. He has a history of misdemeanor driving violations.

Scott and Townsend are both in custody at the Orange County Jail without bond.

The Chapel Hill Police department is still investigating the homicide. It is still unclear how the victim and suspects knew each other. Police said it appears that none of the three lived at the house on Christopher Road.  

Herald-Sun reporter Keith Upchurch contributed to this report.