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Gaston County man faces murder charges after fight with brother

On the night of April 6, North Carolina police were summoned to a home in Gaston County. A 43-year-old man was found dead of gunshot wounds in the backyard of the residence. His 47-year-old brother was arrested and charged with the violent crime.

Authorities say an argument broke out between the brothers at their mother's house, where they both lived. Though the specific details about the altercation were not initially revealed, the argument turned deadly when the older brother apparently brandished a gun. Still at the home when police arrived, he was arrested and charged with first-degree murder.

According to the victim's fiancée, the two brothers normally were in good graces with one another. The accused man suffered a swollen eye and a scrape on his cheek. He was being held in the Gaston County jail with no bond. Though he is now facing violent crime allegations, he is entitled to the same legal protections that apply to all individuals accused of a crime in North Carolina.

The man who is facing charges has a history of criminal activity, including assault with a deadly weapon. However, one judge, apparently concerned about his mental state, ordered that the man be evaluated at a center that offered services related to substance abuse, mental health and developmental disabilities. While we don't know if the accused man suffered from any of these, that court order could provide some insight into why this altercation escalated so quickly.

Mental disorders and developmental disabilities can often affect a person's behavior in a way that he or she might not have control over. While it doesn't take back the life that was lost, it's important not to assume that a person was in complete control of his or her actions in a situation like this.

Source: Herald Online, "NC man charged with killing his brother," Meghan Cooke and April Bethea, April 8, 2012

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