Crime

Burke County grand jury opts against indictment in man’s stabbing death

Cameron Anthony Smith
Cameron Anthony Smith WBTV

A Burke County grand jury has decided against indicting a Connelly Springs man in the stabbing death of his neighbor.

The grand jury opted against returning a true bill of indictment Monday on a voluntary manslaughter charge against Christopher Warren Allen, 25, prosecutors said.

Allen faced the charge in connection with the Oct. 7 death of his neighbor and co-worker, Cameron Anthony Smith Jr., 22.

Law enforcement officers responded the previous night to a report of Smith kicking in Allen’s door and punching him. When officers left Allen’s home on Harding Road, the situation “seemed to have been defused,” prosecutors said in a statement.

But officers returned around 5:45 a.m. the next morning to a report of a stabbing. Investigators said Smith went to Allen’s home for a ride to work as he normally did, but the pair then fought in a work van.

Smith was stabbed once with a letter opener, prosecutors said. He left the van, ran to his home on nearby Bailey Road and collapsed. Officers found him dead at the home.

The district attorney’s office sought the indictment after concluding that Allen used excessive force in defending himself. The decision followed a lengthy investigation by the Burke County Sheriff’s Office and State Bureau of Investigation, District Attorney David Learner said.

“They did a very thorough and meticulous investigation that was reviewed by this office several times,” Learner said.

With the grand jury’s decision, “unless new evidence comes to light, the grand jury finding stands as is,” Learner said.

Joe Marusak: 704-358-5067, @jmarusak

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