GREENSBORO — A Crime Stoppers tip gave police detailed information on three people now charged with first-degree murder and robbery with a dangerous weapon in the homicide of a 74-year-old man.
Larry Eugene Brown, 74, of 133 Greenbriar Road Apt. A, was found dead about 6:10 a.m. on July 29. He died from massive blunt force trauma to the head. According to an arrest warrant he was struck with a fire extinguisher and robbed of $3, his cell phone, a flashlight, a razor and his wallet.
Charged in the homicide are D’Angelo Nathaniel Matthews, of 3503 Sherbourne Lane, who turned 17 the day after his arrest; a 14-year-old female and a 15-year-old male.
According to the document, the break in the case came through a Crime Stoppers tip two days after the homicide, according to a recently-released search warrant. Someone called the anonymous tip line about 11:15 p.m. and said that three people killed Brown. The caller identified the 14-year-old female by name as driving a car belonging to her mother, and said a third person sprayed Brown with a fire extinguisher.
“The caller named 16-year-old D’Angelo Matthews as hitting the man several times with the fire extinguisher,” the document states. “The caller advised that the subjects went through the victims’ pockets and threw the fire extinguishers in the woods.”
According to the court document, the teens are accused of robbing and killing Brown, and of discharging a fire extinguisher. White-yellow powder was found in at least three areas around Brown. The same substance covered his clothing. A security tab that appeared to be the type used on fire extinguishers also was found nearby.
Police recently released the search warrant for a 1997 Plymouth Voyager minivan, in which the teens are accused of traveling. According to court documents, the female teen took her mother’s car and drove the two male teens in the area where Brown’s body was found.
Brown lived in the same apartment complex as the male juvenile, but in a different building, according to the court document. Police have previously said the three teens did not know Brown.
Police obtained video surveillance for the apartment complex. In it, a silver van is shown turning into parking lot off Greenbriar Road. A tall person in dark clothes gets out of the sliding door of the vehicle, throwing something at the minivan, according to the document. Police examining the scene later recovered a spent fire extinguisher and what was described as food service-type gloves.
This person, who police identified as a 14-year-old male in the court document, later talked with police. The teen admitted to being in the vehicle, but said, “He did not kill the man.” The teen gave the name of a second juvenile, but the second juvenile, “denied any knowledge of the homicide or involvement,” the court document states. The identity of the second juvenile was unclear.
In the surveillance video, another person, a heavy-set male, is seen getting out of the passenger side of the minivan. He is shown removing an unknown item from the vehicle. A fire extinguisher is found where he appears to have walked, the document states.
Police tracked down the female teen through the license plate information given through Crime Stoppers, which led them to the teen’s mother’s house, the document states. The minivan parked at the house matched the one seen on the video surveillance tapes, court documents state.
Investigators went to the house on Aug. 4 and met with the teen and her mother. The pair spoke briefly with officers, before the mom stated she wanted to talk to an attorney. Police allowed the mother to take a few personal items from the vehicle, including a child seat and diaper bag, before it was towed for evidence.
Detectives spotted what appeared to be a whitish-yellow powdery substance on the right side mirror and along the right side of the vehicle, court documents state.
In a search of the minivan, investigators gathered DNA swabs of possible blood, a white/yellow powder, a fire extinguisher ring pin and photos of the van, according to a search warrant. The minivan also tested positive for Bluestar, a chemical used by forensics to detect the chemical presence of blood.
Matthews and the two juveniles all have their next court appearances on Sept. 3. Matthews’ will be in Guilford County District Court while 14- and 15-year-olds will be in juvenile court. The Guilford County District Attorney’s Office is seeking to try them as adults.