HICKORY -- Police in Hickory have charged a Burke County man with the shooting death of a Hickory teen-ager, less than a year after the original murder charge in the case was dropped.
Hickory police took Richard Clifford Gaither, 25, of Vale, into custody Tuesday afternoon. He is jailed in Catawba County, charged with murder; discharging a weapon into a moving vehicle; and discharging a weapon into occupied property, causing serious bodily injury.
The charges stem from the March 28, 2011, shooting of Steven Darnell Simpson, 19, of Hickory.
Police say Simpson, driving a red Toyota about 9:30 p.m., was shot in the head by another motorist. Simpson was airlifted to Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center, where he died.
Police got a description of the SUV from where the shot had been fired, and the N.C. Highway Patrol spotted a vehicle fitting the description a short time later on Interstate 40. After a brief pursuit, police arrested Gaither on 34th Avenue Place N.W. in Hickory.
At the time, investigators say the shooting had followed some type of dispute between the two.
Murder charges against Gaither were dropped earlier this year, due to lack of evidence. Police and prosecutors have not said what sort of new evidence led them to re-arrest Gaither.