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Slain teen’s family presses DA for answers in suspicious death

WHITEVILLE, NC (WWAY) — More than a dozen family members of a 16-year old girl killed last year in Chadbourn met with the Columbus County District Attorney today, demanding answers. The FBI’s civil rights unit is working alongside local and state agencies to find out whether Jasmine Thar’s death was an accident or a crime.

“We want to move on it. We want things done,” said Willie Gary, the family’s high profile attorney from Florida. “It was a knock down, drag out meeting, there was no question about that. The family wanted answers.”

Both the DA and Gary came out of the meeting with a common understanding: the process to find answers will take time.

Jasmine was shot and killed in the front yard of a Chadbourn home in December. James Blackwell, who lived across the street, says his Model 700 Remington rifle fired without pulling the trigger, killing Jasmine and striking two others. The shooting was ruled accidental and Blackwell was never charged.

Gary says all parties need to be held accountable

“That’s not to excuse anybody,” he said. “The shooter, the gun maker, or the shooter for being negligent.”

The case has garnered some major attention. Carlletta McNeil, Jasmine’s mother, called upon John Barnette, a civil rights activist in Charlotte to help with exposure. Earlier this month, the family organized an online petition to demand justice for Jasmine. They say it already has about 75,000 signatures from supporters all over the world. Some are even drawing parallels to the high profile case in Florida involving Trayvon Martin.

“I would say that some of the people that signed the petition for Jasmine, if you would study and look deep enough a large percentage of those may be the same ones that supported Trayvon Martin and I think because Trayvon Martin sparked an awareness,” said Barnette.

Supporters plan to continue to fight for answers and demanding justice for Jasmine.

“I’m confident that we’re going to get a resolution,” Gary said. “I think it’s too early to start guessing what’s going to happen because I think the evidence is going to have to support that one way or the other. We want justice.”

District attorney Jon David says there is no timetable for the investigation. He says there are ballistic and forensic tests being done. He wanted to reiterate that the investigation will be very thorough.

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