Memorial planned for Joshua Bailey

September 17, 2008 8:37:43 AM PDT
Family and friends tell Eyewitness News they will remember Joshua Bailey,20, this weekend at a special memorial service in Chapel Hill.Bailey's body was discovered in a shallow grave near Jordan Lake in Chatham County last Friday. Nine people are charged in connection with his shooting death, including the parents one of the suspects.

Brian Minton, 18, Jacob Maxwell, 18, Jack Johnson, 19, Brandon Greene, 26, Ryan Lee, 20, and Matt Johnson are charged with first-degree murder and first-degree kidnapping. All six were denied bond during their first court appearance on Tuesday.

Minton's parents, Gregory and Mishele Minton, are accused of helping their son and his friends dispose of Bailey's body. They are charged with accessory-after-the-fact along with Chris Manley, 23. The three are being held on a one million dollar bond.

Bailey went missing in late July, a month before a Silver Alert was issued in his disappearance. On Tuesday, prosecutors hinted at a carefully planned murder among friends with a possible cover up.

"Most of them have known one another for some time--for years," said Orange County District Attorney Jim Woodall, who denied the suspects were involved in a gang. "Some of them may have gone to school together."

Woodall said Bailey also associated with the suspects. School records show Joshua Bailey withdrew from Chapel Hill High School in August 2005. Jack Johnson and Chris Manley attended CHHS until the fall of 2006.

Search warrants released Monday said Bailey was shot in the head and buried in Chapel Hill. Prosecutors won't discuss a possible motive. But, warrants also reveal Matt Johnson, the alleged gunman, has accused the other suspects of kidnapping and beating him with pipes at a Pittsboro auto body shop because they were concerned their secret would be exposed.

With the help of Minton's parents, prosecutors allege the defendants conspired to remove Bailey's body from a shallow grave in Chapel Hill. According to warrants, a canine unit discovered evidence of a decomposed body in the soil.

All six defendants charged with murder are eligible for the death penalty.

District Attorney Jim Woodall it's too soon to say whether they'll face additional charges. He did not rule of the possibility of additional arrests in the case. With the number of defendants and the familial relationship among three of them, it's an unusual case and a possible first in Orange County, he said.

The next court date in this case is set for October 6. All the suspects were appointed a capitol defender.

Tuesday, D. Ray Warren --spokesperson for the Bailey family-- released a statement thanking their family and friends for all their support.

"They also are very thankful for the many hours our Law Enforcement community has worked in finding Josh and his alleged murderers, particularly Investigator Tim Horne. They cannot express in words their hurt, loss, bewilderment, anger, and torment in the senseless kidnapping and murder of their loving and friendly son, and brother Josh."

"It is difficult for the Baileys to comprehend how so many people could be involved in such a violent crime against a young man of 20, who for all who knew him only wanted to treat people well, give a big smile, and be a friend. The Baileys ask that we pray that justice is done on Josh's behalf."

There will be a Celebration of Life for Josh on Saturday. The service will be held at Orange United Methodist Church, 1220 Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd. at 2:00 pm. A memorial fund has been set up in the name of Josh Bailey by his family at the Mental Health Association in Orange County, they ask that all memorial gifts be made to this fund.


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