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SBI investigates missing evidence

The Robesonian,
BYLINE: Matt Elofson
Link to Article

Red Springs, NC

RED SPRINGS - The State Bureau of Investigation is trying to determine how evidence in two separate cases disappeared from the Red Springs Police Department.

District Attorney Johnson Britt requested the investigation on Sept. 29. Some of the evidence was for a murder trial and the other evidence was 2 ounces of crack cocaine that had been seized by the SBI.

SBI agents have taken control of the Police Department's evidence room and changed the locks on the door Tuesday, Britt said. Agents began an inventory of items stored in the evidence room on Wednesday to compare what is there with what logs show should be there.

Britt said he called for the investigation after his office was forced to agree to a plea deal in the first-degree murder of Marcus Galbreath. Galbreath, 30, was charged with the 2001 murder of Jeffrey Thomas Fairley. But Britt said Red Springs police could not find four shell casings collected at the crime scene, the victim's clothing, and photographs.

Galbreath pleaded guilty last month to voluntary manslaughter. He was sentenced to six to eight years in prison.

SBI agents on Sept. 28 went to the Police Department to collect drug evidence that was part of an undercover investigation that occurred during 2002. The drugs had been turned over to a Red Springs police officer, but there was no written documentation that the drugs ever existed, Britt said.

”The SBI is engaged in a federal drug investigation,“ Britt said. ”It includes a target, and as I recall, it was 2 ounces of crack cocaine that was purchased. It cannot be accounted for right now.“

Britt did not want to release the name of the Red Springs officer who had handled the cocaine.

Red Spring Police Chief Lum Edwards appeared to be taken by surprise by the investigation.

”All I know is they said they wanted to help us straighten out our (evidence) room,“ Edwards said.

He said his department is using different lockers to store any new evidence that is collected.

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