Formal charges have been filed against four men charged in the fatal retaliatory shooting of a young man whose bullet-riddled body was found in a western Jefferson County makeshift dump.
Authorities said Tuesday’s abduction and death of 21-year-old Darryl Thomas was payback for the fatal shooting of Pinson native and former Green Bay Packer Carlos Gray, who was found slain in his home Monday night. Investigators said they believe Thomas killed his friend – Gray – in a drug-fueled robbery and then was kidnapped and killed by four men, including Gray’s half-brother.
Those charged with capital murder and robbery are: Aeriol Lesean Barbee, 27; Jalen McIntyre, 21, Myzel Arbuckle, 22, and Cortez Johnson-Clark. All four remain held without bond in the Jefferson County Jail. Barbee was Gray’s half-brother.
“It’s all shocking really, but in a lot of ways it’s not surprising,” said Jefferson County sheriff’s Chief Deputy Randy Christian. “We all know about the drug culture and the violence that goes along with it.”
“We’ve got two people dead and four suspects in jail so that’s up to at least six families that have been destroyed. These guys lives are virtually over with, and we’ve got two whose lives are permanently over with,” he said. “It all tracks back to a poor lifestyle choice – the drug trade. It’s a dangerous lifestyle. Too many times it has this kind of ending.”
The 24-hour crime spree began to unfold Sunday night when Gray was found dead. Christian said Gray’s girlfriend reported she last saw him about an hour earlier when she left the home. When she returned she found him gravely wounded. Family members said Gray’s mother and stepfather, a law enforcement officer, live not far from their son’s Paradise Valley home in Clay and rushed to the scene, where they performed CPR but could not save him.
Christian said when deputies arrived on scene, they checked the home for additional victims or suspects. While clearing the house deputies reported seeing marijuana, digital scales, a Glock handgun with an extended magazine and an AK-47 rifle with a large capacity magazine all in plain view.
“We learned that he (Gray) was well entrenched in the drug lifestyle,” Christian said. He said detectives believe Gray had bragged about a large amount of money and drugs that led to him being killed during a robbery carried out by Thomas. “I believe he flashed some money and the people that killed him, I believe robbery was their motive.”
Gray graduated from Pinson Valley High High School and went on to play at North Carolina State after a junior college stint. He started one year in college and then left after his junior year as an early entry in the 2014 NFL draft. He signed with the Packers as an undrafted free agent in 2014 and was release and was released from the team in 2015.
“He was a likable kid in high school with great athletic ability,” Christian said. “After he came home …he got involved with the wrong people, chose a risky and dangerous lifestyle and he paid the price for it.”
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SOURCE: AL.com, Carol Robinson