First Posted: 1/15/2009
Victim had just exited prison
LUMBERTON - Three people have been charged with first-degree murder in a weekend shooting death that followed a dispute over money, according to sheriff's Maj. Howard Branch.
The dead man, 27-year-old Bryan Keith Hardin Jr., had an extensive criminal history, and was recently released from prison.
Branch said that Robert Lee McNeill, 33, of 342 Dolly Drive, fired a single shot with a .38-caliber handgun that killed Hardin Jr. at about 1:30 a.m. on Saturday. Hardin was inside his mother's home at 3348 Evergreen Church Road when he was shot, and he later died at Southeastern Regional Medical Center. Hardin was released from prison on Tuesday, four days before he was killed.
In addition to the first-degree murder charge, McNeill is also charged with felony conspiracy to commit first-degree murder and discharging a weapon into an occupied property. Also charged were Mary Oxendine, 29, and Brock Lynn Locklear, 17, who also list 342 Dolly Drive as their residence. Each was charged with felony conspiracy to commit first-degree murder and first-degree murder. Branch said that Oxendine is McNeill's girlfriend.
“It was a dispute over money that the deceased owed Mary Oxendine,” said Branch, who did not want to elaborate on what the money was owed for.
“These three went over there to collect their money, Robert McNeill went up to the mobile home with a .38 revolver and fired it through a window, striking Bryan Keith once,” Branch said.
Branch said the three were driven to the residence by Oxendine, who waited in the car while McNeill and Locklear approached the home.
Branch said that McNeill and Oxendine were picked up at their home about 8 p.m. on Saturday, and that Locklear was arrested there in the early morning hours of Sunday. All three are being held at the Robeson County jail without bail.
Hardin Jr. had a criminal history dating back to 1996, according to the state Department of Correction. He was released on Nov. 6 after serving four months of a 11-month sentence for felony breaking and entering. He also has served time for larceny, speeding to elude arrest, breaking and entering.
Sheriff's Lts. Reggle Strickland and Rory McKeithan led the investigation, and were assisted by Special Agent Adrian Williams of the State Bureau of Investigation.