LUMBERTON — A 29-year-old Rowland man was found dead with a gunshot wound in a car in Lumberton this morning, according to the Robeson County Sheriff’s Office.
Taurus Locklear lived on Bertha Jones Road in Rowland. His death is being investigated as a homicide.
Locklear was previously charged in a 2011 Fairmont murder, but the charge against him was dropped a year ago after his lawyers argued there was no evidence against him besides the testimony of his co-defendant.
According to a statement from the Sheriff’s Office, deputies found Locklear’s body after responding to a call reporting a suspicious vehicle at about 12:51 a.m. today
When deputies arrived, they found the vehicle parked on Woodland Avenue with the engine running and the headlights on, the statement said. Locklear was found dead inside the car.
The case against Locklear was dismissed in Robeson County Superior Court on Aug. 25, 2015. He had been charged with first-degree murder for the shooting death of Brandon Lee Hunt on March 13, 2011, in front of Fairmont’s Market Street Apartments.
Locklear spent four and a half years in jail before the case against him was voluntarily dismissed by the prosecution.
Locklear’s attorneys argued that evidence presented in the case did not implicate him, but only pointed to his co-defendant, Quintin Taylor, who pleaded guilty to second-degree murder in 2014. Bobby DeShawn Jones was also charged in connection with Hunt’s death, but those charges were dismissed in September 2011.
Locklear’s attorneys said the Fairmont Police Department, which investigated the murder, had lost “significant evidence” related to the case, including recordings of an interview with Taylor, and that Taylor was the only person charged who had known Hunt.