Crime & Courts

Man fatally hit with brick during fight in west Charlotte

A relative beat a 77-year-old man to death with a brick during a fight Thursday morning in west Charlotte, police said.

Charlotte-Mecklenburg police identified the victim as Charles Lee Neal. Detectives arrested Orlando Cepeirre Neal, 55, and charged him with murder and malicious injury by explosive or incendiary device for allegedly pouring gasoline on the victim. Orlando Neal is Charles Neal’s nephew, according to WBTV, the Observer’s news partner.

Records show Charles Neal and Orlando Neal lived next door to each other on Dawnalia Drive, a dead-end street off West Boulevard near the Billy Graham Parkway.

Police said they aren’t looking for any other suspects in the case. Investigators didn’t say what led to the assault. No one answered the phone Thursday at Orlando Neal’s house.

Criminal records show Orlando Neal was convicted of misdemeanor damage to property twice in Mecklenburg County, in 1996 and 2004. Both times, he was sentenced to probation. Records show no felony charges or convictions for Orlando Neal in North Carolina.

The homicide Thursday was reported about 9:15 a.m. Police, fire and rescue vehicles were called to the scene.

Neighbors said the victim was struck with a brick during a fight. Charles Neal was pronounced dead at the scene. Police confirmed that a brick was used in the killing and said an officer arrived as gasoline was being poured on the victim, WBTV reported. Charlotte Fire Department investigators also were at the scene.

The neighbors, who did not want to be identified, said police detained two people. As a police car with one of those in custody drove away, several of the neighbors followed the car into West Boulevard screaming, “You’re going to jail” at the person inside.

Behind the yellow crime scene tape, a woman screamed and yelled “No” repeatedly and had to be supported by a police officer and several other men at the scene. Her relationship to the victim wasn’t immediately clear.

Police ask that anyone with information in the case contact detectives at 704-432-TIPS. Information can also be left with Crime Stoppers at 704-334-1600 or http://charlottecrimestoppers.com. Observer staff writers Cleve R. Wootson Jr., Steve Lyttle and staff researcher Maria David contributed.

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