DeLand police sort through several stories before making arrest in death of 16-year-old Calvin Nealy Jr.

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Normal DeLand police sort through several stories before making arrest in death of 16-year-old Calvin Nealy Jr.

Post by Wrapitup on Thu Aug 25, 2011 7:28 pm

By Gary Taylor, Orlando Sentinel
5:26 p.m. EDT, August 25, 2011
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When 16-year-old Calvin Nealy Jr. was shot in the head and killed April 2, there were at least nine other people with him outside a residence on Chelsea Street in DeLand, police said.

It wasn't until this week that investigators were able to sort through their various accounts of what happened that day and make a case against one of them.

Erik Lavon Gibson Jr., 16, faces a charge of manslaughter involving a firearm in Nealy's death. He was arrested Tuesday.

Part of the case against Gibson was his statements to another person that he shot Nealy and that he was high on drugs at the time, according to an arrest affidavit.

According to that report:

A female, who was not identified, told police she asked Gibson if he shot the other teen and he replied: "Yes, it was a mistake."

She asked him why he shot Nealy and he told her "They were playing with guns. They were high. They do stupid stuff when they are high."

Officers found Nealy dead of a single gunshot wound at a home in the 300 block of East Chelsea Street in DeLand. A handgun was found a short distance from his body. It contained two bullets and a spent cartridge.

Some of those present told police Nealy was twirling the gun when it accidentally charged.

But tests conducted as part of an autopsy showed the wound was caused by a shot fired from a distance farther than Nealy's arm-reach.

Investigators continued questioning everyone who was at that home until Aug. 5. One of them said everyone was smoking "weed and cigarettes," using street slang for marijuana.

One said that everyone ran from the carport when the shot was fired and Gibson commented that Nealy should not have been playing with the gun.

Another person told investigators that Nealy was accidentally shot as Gibson was handling the firearm and after the shooting Gibson said: "We are going to say he was playing with the gun."

Still another witness told investigators Gibson was spinning the gun on his finger when it discharged and afterward he ran from the carport saying; "I can't believe it. I can't believe it.'

Another person, who claimed that he saw neither teen with the gun, told investigators his mother told him he was not a "snitch" and while he wanted to cooperate, he told investigators: "There is no such thing as a snitch when it comes to murder.'

In early May, Gibson posted on facebook.com that he was stressed, had lost 10 pounds and was "doing bad," investigators said. He also said he wished the bullet had hit him.

A few days later, in another post, Gibson said he had lost several relatives and "a childhood friend" in the last year and that his grades at school had gone from the honor roll to six F's. He added that he "still ain't forgave myself."

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Last edited by Wrapitup on Thu Aug 25, 2011 7:35 pm; edited 1 time in total

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Normal Re: DeLand police sort through several stories before making arrest in death of 16-year-old Calvin Nealy Jr.

Post by Wrapitup on Thu Aug 25, 2011 7:32 pm

Police: Teen tried to convince witnesses to help cover DeLand shooting
16-year-old charged with manslaughter
BY PATRICIO G. BALONA, STAFF WRITER
August 24, 2011 2:50 PM

DELAND -- A 16-year-old arrested and accused of firing the gun that killed another teenager in April tried to convince his companions to tell police the victim was playing with the firearm, DeLand police investigators said.

Erik Lavon Gibson Jr. was arrested Tuesday and charged with manslaughter with a firearm, said DeLand police Deputy Chief Randel Henderson.

The shooting of Calvin Nealy Jr., 16, and another teen sparked a community movement in DeLand to try and quell violence among children. The community began meeting about curbing teen violence and offering more recreation opportunities.

According to DeLand police, at least nine juveniles and an adult were at the home at 309 E. Chelsea St., opposite Earl Brown Park, when the shooting occurred.

On April 2, officers responded to the East Chelsea home about 1 p.m. after someone called dispatchers to report a shooting. Officers found Nealy lying on his left side dead from a gunshot wound to the right side of the head, Henderson said.

Detectives conducted preliminary interviews with witnesses present at the time of the shooting. Witness accounts were found to be inconsistent with the forensic findings. Detectives had to carry out follow-up interviews to either confirm or disprove accounts of the events leading up to the firing of the gun, Henderson said.

Eight of the juveniles interviewed by police initially said Nealy was playing with the gun when the firearm discharged. But an autopsy revealed that Nealy was shot from a distance and that he could not have shot himself as the witnesses claimed, police said.

Also, the .38-caliber revolver was found almost five feet away from Nealy, police said.

In a follow-up interview, some of the juveniles said Gibson told them "we are going to say he (Nealy) was playing with the gun," investigators said.

Aided by forensic findings, detectives determined that the original accounts by the witnesses were untrue, Henderson said.

Another juvenile also told police that while at the Chisholm Community Center, Gibson told her that he shot Nealy and that "it was a mistake."

In thier investigation, police discovered that Gibson had strange postings on his Facebook account.

According to police, Gibson wrote that he was stressed, lost 10 pounds, was doing bad, was changed mentally and wished the bullet had hit him.

Based on all the new evidence, a warrant was obtained for Gibson, who was arrested at his home Tuesday afternoon. He was taken to the Volusia Regional Juvenile Detention Center in Daytona Beach, Henderson said.

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Normal Re: DeLand police sort through several stories before making arrest in death of 16-year-old Calvin Nealy Jr.

Post by Wrapitup on Thu Aug 25, 2011 7:33 pm

Mother 'not mad' at teen arrested in her son's death

By Jen Horton
BEACON STAFF WRITER

posted Aug 23, 2011 - 6:43:48pm

Since April 2, Shirl Wesley-Boyd has lived in a state of agony. Her 16-year-old son, Calvin Nealy, Jr. was shot and killed that Satuday in the carport alongside a home on Chelsea Avenue in DeLand.

For nearly five months, there was no arrest in Nealy Jr.'s death, although, according to Wesley-Boyd, as many as 11 young men at the house witnessed the circumstances of his death.

Through the months, Boyd has pleaded with everyone who would listen: Speak up, come forward, tell the truth, she said.

The mother of Calvin Nealy Jr. sought closure. She needed to know what happened to her son; she needed to be at peace.

Today, Boyd got that peace. Erik Lavon Gibson Jr., 16, of DeLand, was arrested for manslaughter in Calvin Jr.'s death. Gibson Jr. was transported to the Department of Juvenile Justice today, Aug. 23.

"I've been crying all day," Boyd said. "They're tears of joy. I'm sad, but I've got closure."

Boyd said Gibson and her son were best friends who grew up together.

"I'm not mad at him. I was just upset that nobody was talking or telling the truth," Boyd said. "I don't hold a grudge in my heart."

Boyd said she and Gibson's mother talked after they heard the news. Boyd said the two cried together.

"It's sad," Boyd said. "She told me he was sorry, and I told her I wasn't mad at him."

Still, one young man is dead and another still lives.

"She can still see her son, you know," Boyd said. "But I'm not angry at her, I'm just sad."

This is a bittersweet time in Boyd's life. As she prepares a birthday celebration and memorial party to honor her son, and to find closure in her heart, she celebrates the arrival of Calvin's daughter, Siyyan Nealy. The grandchild was born Aug. 8, weighing 8 pounds, 8 ounces.

"It helped ease the pain, but it didn't make it go away," Boyd said. "I know he [Calvin] would have wanted to be here for this, to be here for his daughter."

Boyd is planning a birthday party and memorial for Calvin Jr., from 9 p.m. to midnight, Saturday, Oct. 1. The event will be at the Garden Club of DeLand clubhouse, at the corner of South Alabama and East Beresford avenues. Admission costs $5.

More than 130 people have already confirmed that they will attend the tribute to Calvin's life.

According to the DeLand Police Department, there were five or six people passing a gun around at the home at 309 E. Chelsea St., when Calvin died.

The witnesses did not come forward and talk openly about what happened.

"We had a lot of witnesses that consistently told less than the truth," DeLand Police Chief Bill Ridgway said.


He continued, "I did not think it was premeditation. But, you have to be held accountable for your actions."

The ownership of the gun is still being withheld, as the investigation continues.

DeLand City Commissioner Vonzelle Johnson noted the mixed blessing of today's arrest.

"I'm happy for her, I'm glad she has closure" Johnson said.

He noted the tragedy of the fact that Calvin, allegedly, was slain by his friend, also a very young man.

Johnson said it was unfortunate, because two young men's lives could potentially be altered forever.

"The process was a long process," Johnson said. "I do commend our police department on the thoroughness of the investigation."

Immediately following the shooting, Johnson and other community leaders came together to seek change in DeLand.

Johnson said from that, a coalition with about 30 regular members has formed. The coalition's goals include creating a united resource to provide initiatives and opportunities to youth and, ultimately, to prevent losses like Calvin's.

"People are ready to come to the table," Johnson said. "We're going to have to be innovative in providing activities for youth. If I'm not at school, where am I?"

He lauded many of the resources for children, such as the Boys and Girls Clubs, and the Chisholm Community Center in DeLand. However, Johnson said Calvin and Eric's age group — those ages 16 and 17 — has few activities available.

"We're going to have to get creative," Johnson said. "Maybe we provide job training and internship programs. We have to get them to believe in themselves, so they can take leadership in the future."

REPORTED EARLIER: Four months after 16-year-old Calvin Nealy Jr. of DeLand died of a gunshot to the head, an arrest has been made in his death.

One of Nealy's best friends, Eric Gibson Jr., has been arrested and charged with manslaughter, the DeLand Police Department said today, Aug. 23.

Witnesses said a group of young people was in a carport at 309 E. Chelsea St. in DeLand on Saturday, April 2, when a gun fired, killing Nealy Jr.

Sorting out the statements from the group of young people who witnessed the death was difficult for the DeLand Police Department.

"We had a lot of witnesses that consistently told less than the truth," DeLand Police Chief Bill Ridgway said.

Beacon reporter Jen Horton is compiling a story, including reaction from Calvin's mother, Shirl Wesley-Boyd. It will be posted soon

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