Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police have charged a homeless teenager with murder in connection with a body found on southbound Interstate 85 late Wednesday in north Charlotte.
Austin Kelligan, 19, is accused in the death of David Earl Brannon, 46, police said.
Homeless advocates in Charlotte say Kelligan is well known to them as an extremely vulnerable teen who has mental impairment due to a brain injury. Both his long-term and short-term memory have been affected, they said. He is unemployed and has been living on the streets for months, they said.
Investigators say they found Kelligan at the scene of the incident and that he volunteered to cooperate. He is being held at the Mecklenburg County jail.
Brannon’s body was found on southbound Interstate 85 near the Sugar Creek Road exit at 10:14 p.m. Wednesday, police said. He was pronounced dead at the scene.
A preliminary investigation indicates that Brannon may have been involved in a fight with someone he knew prior to being hit by a vehicle, officials said.
Records indicate Kelligan has not been arrested before in Mecklenburg County. However, an August 2016 article in the Richmond County Daily Journal reported that he was facing charges there for allegedly starting a structure fire that resulted in injuries for a firefighter. The article said Kelligan, who was then 18, set fire to an abandoned house in East Rockingham on Aug. 7.
Kelligan was living in Rockingham at the time of the fire, records show. He was arrested Aug. 12 and charged with burning an uninhabited dwelling and arson resulting in serious injury to a firefighter.
Court records show he has a pending trial date of March 6 on those charges.
Anyone with information about this incident is asked to call 704-432-TIPS and speak directly to a homicide detective. The public can also call Crime Stoppers at 704-334-1600 or visit the Crime Stoppers mobile app website at http://charlottecrimestoppers.com/.