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Office of the Fifteenth Prosecutorial District of North Carolina

Jon David
District Attorney
Proudly serving the people of three great counties

Bladen County Brunswick County Columbus County


910-872-7300 910-253-3910 910-641-4410
PO Box 2619 310 Government Center 110 Courthouse Square
Elizabethtown, NC 28337 Drive, Unit 2 Whiteville, NC 28472
Bolivia, NC 28422

Re: Lennon Lacy

On the morning of August 29, 2014, the body of Lennon Lee Lacy (D.O.B 8/14/1997), a
17-year-old West Bladen High School student from Bladenboro, North Carolina, was
found hanging by the neck from a swing set in a Bladenboro mobile home park.

Lennon’s death was originally investigated by the Bladenboro Police Department


(“BPD”) and the North Carolina State Bureau of Investigation (“SBI”). In December of
2014 Lennon’s family contacted the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Raleigh seeking federal
involvement in the investigation. Concurrent with that request, the Bladen County
District Attorney’s Office (the “District Attorney”) contacted the Federal Bureau of
Investigation and asked that agency to conduct its own investigation. The FBI declined
to open up a formal investigation and instead agreed to conduct an assessment. The
assessment involved reviewing the entire SBI file (including the BPD file) and
conducting follow-up interviews where appropriate. The FBI announced on June 16,
2016 that it had completed its assessment stating, in part: “After a careful and thorough
review by a team of experienced federal prosecutors and FBI agents, the Justice
Department found no evidence to suggest that Lacy’s death was a homicide. Accordingly,
the investigation into this incident has been closed.” The FBI forwarded its work product
to the District Attorney for review.

After reviewing the FBI assessment, the District Attorney released a statement on June
17, 2016, which read in part, “I have thoroughly reviewed all reports from BPD, the SBI,
and the FBI and I concur with the findings of the U.S. Attorney’s Office that there is no
evidence to suggest that Lacy died as a result of a homicide. All of the credible evidence
suggests that Lacy died as a result of suicide.” The investigation was closed at that time.

This office has received numerous public records requests from media outlets asking that
we release the SBI’s investigative report in its entirety. In an effort to protect the privacy
of Lennon and his family this office has, historically, declined all such requests pursuant
to Chapter 32 of the North Carolina General Statutes. However, in response to several
Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests seeking the release of the FBI’s file, on
November 24, 2020, the FBI released nearly 1,000 redacted pages. The published
documents included the SBI investigative file, which served as the initial foundation for
the FBI assessment. Because much of the SBI file is now in the public domain, we have
decided to release the following synopsis of the investigation, which formed the basis for
our opinion.
We would be remiss if we did not reiterate at this time that our thoughts and prayers
continue to be with the Lacy family. Lennon’s untimely death was a tragic loss to his
family, his friends, his community, and to us all. We encourage the community to
continue supporting the Lacy family as we approach the seven-year anniversary of his
passing.

Morning of August 29, 2014

On August 29, 2014, Lennon Lacy’s body was discovered hanging from a swing set at
Bladen Rental Properties. Bladen Rental Properties is a mobile home park located within
the town limits of Bladenboro. (See Exhibits A & B.) The swing set is one of eight such
structures in a grassy field surrounded by eleven homes in the shape of a “U” or a
horseshoe. Two of the eight swing sets have a slide attachment consisting of a ladder,
platform, and slide. Lennon’s body was found hanging from one of the sets with a slide
attachment. (See Exhibit C.) The bottom of the swing set crossbeam measures 7 ft. 7 in.
from the ground. The platform is 4 ft. 6 in. from the ground. The crossbeam measures
5.5 in. by 3.5 in. The swing set is equipped with four “eye bolts” screwed into the
crossbeam for hanging two swings. On the morning of August 29, there was only one
swing attached to the two “eye bolts” furthest from the slide attachment.

A woman, H.S.,1 who lived in one of the 11 homes on the horseshoe, reported that she
had left her home that morning around 6:30 a.m. to drop her boyfriend off at work in
Clarkton, North Carolina. When she returned home around 7:30 a.m. she noticed what
she believed to be a man standing by one of the swing sets. When she looked again and
noticed that the man had not moved she grew suspicious.

H.S. noticed S.B. at a utility shed near the opening of the horseshoe. S.B., a Bladenboro
resident, was starting up a riding lawnmower in order to mow the Bladen Rental
Properties lawn. H.S. approached S.B. and asked her about the man. S.B. said she would
investigate and drove the lawnmower over to the swing set. S.B. stated to law
enforcement that she had noticed the man by the swing set as she was driving to the
mobile home park around 7:15 a.m. but took no further action until approached by H.S.

As S.B. approached the swing set she noticed that the man was not standing but was
hanging from the swing set. S.B. told the SBI that as she approached the swing set she
observed a black male hanging by the neck with his feet approximately five inches off the
ground and that the black male appeared to be lifeless. She noted that the male appeared
to be hanging by some sort of strap or belt, that there were two such “straps” – one blue
and one black. She recalled that the “strap” had been wrapped twice around the cross-
beam of the swing set and fed through an “eye bolt” where a swing would normally be
attached.

During a subsequent interview S.B. was asked to perform a reenactment of her actions
that morning. During that reenactment she stated that Lennon’s body was hanging from

1
In order to protect the privacy of individuals not previously named in media coverage of these events,
initials will be used throughout this document.

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the “eye bolt” closest to the slide and platform. That “eye bolt” was attached to the
crossbeam approximately 18 inches from the slide platform. S.B. stated that Lennon’s
feet were suspended about 1 inch from the ground and pointed towards the ground. A
shoe was on his left foot. His right foot was suspended just above a shoe which was on
the ground. The toes of his right foot were hanging inside the opening of the right shoe.

As S.B. stepped off the lawnmower, she called 911 and reported the incident. The 911
operator dispatched EMS to the mobile home park and instructed S.B. to “cut him down”
to see if he was breathing. After several efforts, S.B. was able to untie the knot and, with
some difficulty, lower Lennon to the ground. He was lowered into a face-down position.
S.B. noted that Lennon’s hands were hanging free by his side and were not bound. S.B.
reported that Lennon did not appear to be breathing and that he had no pulse. At that
time EMS arrived.

Bladen County Communications records indicate that S.B.’s call was received at 7:29
a.m. and that first responders arrived on-scene at 7:35 a.m. A.C. of the Bladenboro Fire
Department and D.H. of Bladen County EMS arrived at about the same time. Sgt. K.
Rouse of the Bladenboro Police Department arrived moments later.

D.H. reported that Lennon was lying face down when he arrived. D.H. and A.C. rolled
Lennon to his back and confirmed that there was no pulse. D.H. also determined that
rigor mortis had set in. At that point, D.H. turned the scene over to law enforcement and
requested a medical examiner. A.C. gives a similar account but adds that he saw a blue
belt around the neck and notes that one of Lennon’s shoes was off.

Sgt. Rouse also gave a similar account of the scene but added that he checked the body
for identification and was unable to locate any. Sgt. Rouse taped off the area and
contacted Bladenboro Police Chief Chris Hunt. Chief Hunt contacted the SBI and
requested their assistance. Sgt. Rouse was contacted by SBI Assistant Special Agent in
Charge (“ASAC”) John Crawford and was informed that the SBI was sending several
agents to assist with processing the crime scene and the investigation.

Bladenboro Police Detective J. Daniels then arrived and established a second, larger
crime scene area. SBI Agent Paul Songalewski arrived on scene at 9:17 a.m., ASAC
Crawford arrived at 9:30, and SBI Agent William Brady arrived at 9:43.
Coroner/Medical Examiner Hubert Kinlaw arrived at 9:30.

Shortly after 10:00 a.m. Agents Crawford and Songalewski began canvassing the area to
determine if any of the nearby residents had seen or heard anything the night before.
Most of the residents were not home at that hour. Most of the residents who happened to
be home reported that they did not see or hear anything. One resident reported hearing a
noise between 11:00 and 11:30 p.m. but she did not see anything suspicious when she
went outside to investigate. One resident reported a knock at the front door at 12:27 a.m.
but he did not see or hear anything when he looked out the window. A second canvass
was conducted on September 16, 2014 but it did not yield any additional information.

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During the time that the two SBI agents were conducting the neighborhood canvass,
Agent Bill Brady, assisted by Detective Daniels, processed the crime scene. This part of
the investigation consisted of taking measurements, preparing a diagram, making a
preliminary review of Lennon’s injuries, and extensively photographing the scene. Agent
Brady recorded several important findings, notably: the dirt around the scene did not
appear to be disturbed beyond what one would expect of normal foot traffic (i.e., no
evidence of an altercation). Moreover, with respect to Lennon’s body, Agent Brady
observed numerous ants on his face and neck area as well as his arms, finger joints, and
elbows. Agent Brady looked for injuries and noted scrapes on Lennon’s elbow and a
white mark/patch on Lennon’s right arm but no other visible external injuries. Agent
Brady noted that Lennon was wearing a blue polo shirt and blue athletic pants with an
elastic waistband.

Agent Brady concluded his crime scene investigation at 12:01 p.m. At 12:11 p.m.
Lennon’s body was placed in a body bag and sealed by Detective Daniels. Shortly
thereafter, the bag was unsealed for identification purposes when a young man named
G.D. said he could assist with identifying the deceased. After seeing Lennon’s body he
said that he knew the deceased and where his mother lived but did not know the address.
G.D. took Chief Hunt to Lennon’s home in Spinner Court.

Lennon’s mother, Claudia Carinale Lacy-Walton, was contacted by Chief Hunt and
brought to the crime scene. According to Agent Brady, she was able to confirm that the
body was indeed her son, Lennon Lacy. According to an EMS worker, Ms. Lacy-
Walton’s first statement upon seeing her son were, “That’s my son,” “Somebody killed
my baby,” and “My baby can take care of himself.”

Ms. Lacy-Walton then provided a statement to Agent Songalewski. She stated that she
last saw her son the previous evening around 10:30 p.m. at her home in Spinner Court
Apartments. Spinner Court is located on Chestnut Street in Bladenboro walking distance
(about 1/4 mile) from where Lennon’s body was found. At that time, there were seven
additional family members in the home. Ms. Lacy-Walton stated that her uncle,
Lennon’s great uncle, had recently died and that Lennon was very close to his great
uncle. She stated that the funeral had occurred the previous day, August 28 at 2:00 p.m.
She told Agent Songalewski that she had called Lennon’s school earlier in the week
because she had noticed that Lennon was depressed and she wanted his counselors at
school to know about it. She also said that Lennon had been angry and she wanted the
school to inform his football coach and ROTC instructor because Lennon was close to
them. Ms. Lacy-Walton noticed that Lennon was not home when she got up but that his
football equipment was still there. When asked if she knew anybody that would want to
cause Lennon harm she stated that she did not. When asked why Lennon would want to
harm or kill himself she responded “depressed.” She stated that Lennon had not
mentioned to her any intent to harm or kill himself.

According to a report prepared by Mr. Kinlaw, the local Coroner/Medical Examiner, Ms.
Lacy-Walton stated that Lennon had been depressed due to the death of his great uncle.
She also stated to Kinlaw that Lennon talked to her about death while travelling home
from the funeral, which was held in Virginia.

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Ms. Lacy-Walton has since denied that Lennon was depressed or that she ever called the
school to report any concerns to counselors, his coach, or his ROTC instructor. Faculty
and staff at West Bladen High School (“WBHS”) were interviewed to determine whether
Ms. Lacy-Walton ever called the school. A counselor stated that she received a call a day
or two prior to Lennon’s death from his mother conveying that Lennon’s uncle had
recently passed and that Lennon would be missing school on Thursday for the funeral.
The counselor also stated that Ms. Lacy-Walton told her she was worried about Lennon
and asked her to tell the JROTC teacher to keep an eye on Lennon.

Evening of August 28, 2014

Several people, including family members and friends, were interviewed regarding
Lennon’s whereabouts the previous evening. As previously noted, Lennon’s mother last
recalled seeing her son around 10:30 p.m. in their home.

W.M. was interviewed by the SBI on September 10, 2014 and by the FBI on February 3,
2015. She lived in the home with Lennon and his mother at the time of Lennon’s death.
At the time she was the fiancée of Lennon’s brother Larry Lacy. She stated that she and
Lennon were close and that she thought of herself as an older sister to him. He would
often talk to her about girls. She recalled speaking with Lennon several times the
evening of August 28. She stated that she spoke to Lennon around 10:00 p.m. after he
had returned from T.H.’s home. She described him as “sad and angry.” W.M. stated that
Lennon was upset because T.H. and T.H.’s mother, C.H., had told Lennon that his
girlfriend, Michelle Brimhall, had been sleeping with other men and that Brimhall had
been saying that Lennon was not a real man. Brimhall was 31 years old at the time and
lived in an apartment across the street from Lennon. W.M. and Lennon spoke for about
45 minutes before W.M. went to her bedroom.

Sometime after 11:00 p.m. Lennon asked W.M. to come out of her room. Lennon
directed W.M.’s attention to Brimhall’s residence where they saw Brimhall get out of a
car with another man and go into Brimhall’s home together in the hours preceding his
death. That man is believed to be M.B. M.B. has been interviewed and he admits to
being at Brimhall’s that evening. He denies knowing anything about Lennon’s death or
having any involvement therein and there is no evidence linking M.B. to Lennon’s death.
W.M. stayed up and talked with Lennon until about midnight and then she returned to her
room.

W.M. recalled that at approximately 1:00 a.m. she heard Lennon’s father, Larry Walton,
telling Lennon to get ready for bed because he had a game the next day.

W.M. stated that she was aware that Brimhall had broken up with Lennon. On or about
Sunday, August 17, 2014, Brimhall told W.M. that she broke up with Lennon because
she caught him going through her cell phone. Lennon later confirmed to W.M. that he
had gone through Brimhall’s cell phone.

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W.M. said that she believed that Lennon was depressed about the recent death of his
great uncle and because Lennon and Brimhall had stopped talking. She described
Lennon as “more quiet than usual.” She also noted that Lennon was eating less than
usual and was throwing up when he would eat.

Michelle Brimhall, was interviewed several times during the course of this investigation.
A lengthier discussion of Brimhall’s involvement with Lennon appears later in this
synopsis. For the purposes of establishing Lennon’s location on August 28, Brimhall,
when interviewed, noted that she had seen Lennon on his front porch sometime around
midnight but that she did not speak to him.

J.J. was interviewed by the FBI on February 23, 2015. J.J. lives several houses down
from the Lacy residence. During his interview he recalled that he had seen Lennon on
the evening of August 28 walking back to his home from the home of T.H.

The only other people to see Lennon the evening of August 28 were T.H. and members of
his household. T.H. (15 years old at the time) was interviewed by the SBI on September
2, 2014 and by the FBI on February 3, 2015 and February 23, 2015. During the
interviews T.H. said the he and Lennon were close friends and that Lennon had come to
his house on August 28 between 9:00 p.m. and 11:00 p.m. T.H. stated that he knew
Lennon was upset because he kept saying he wanted to kill himself. T.H. stated that
Lennon was upset over the recent passing of his uncle and over his girlfriend, Brimhall.
Lennon told T.H. that Lennon and Brimhall were no longer dating. Lennon asked T.H. if
he had access to a gun and T.H. told him no. Lennon confided in T.H. that he had
attempted to hang himself previously at the trailer park (unknown whether he was
referring to the same trailer park where his body would later be found) with two belts but
one of the belts had broken. This fact about the ligature is significant because it mirrors
the way in which Lennon would later be found dead. The description of the ligature was
not released to the media and not made public prior to the time that T.H. was interviewed.
Before Lennon left T.H. made him promise not to kill himself and Lennon replied, “I
promise,” upon leaving the residence.

T.H.’s mother, C.H., was home during Lennon’s visit but was sleeping and never saw
Lennon. C.H.’s boyfriend, D.S., was also at the home. He recalls waking up that
evening to get a drink and seeing Lennon and T.H. sitting on the couch talking. He did
not hear any of their conversation.

The Ligature

When Lennon’s body was discovered there was a blue belt wrapped around his neck.
(See Exhibit D.) The blue belt has a “D-Ring” type buckle at one end. The blue belt was
tied to a black belt which was secured to the cross bar of the swing set. The black belt
did not have a buckle attached, which is consistent with Lennon’s statement to T.H.
regarding the broken belt. The ligature measures 94 inches in length, inclusive of the
buckle on the blue belt. The black section of the ligature measures 46 inches, the blue
section measures 47 inches, and the knot is 1 inch. Law enforcement personnel and Mr.

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Kinlaw originally speculated that one or both of the belts was a dog leash – this is
incorrect.

Lennon’s mother and brother (Pierre) were shown the belts and asked if they recognized
the belts. They denied that the belts belonged to Lacy or that he had ever owned a similar
belt. Most people interviewed by the SBI did not recall whether he had owned or worn
the belts used in the hanging. Ms. Brimhall stated that she did not recognize the blue belt
as belonging to Lennon (stating that she was 100% sure it belonged to T.H.) but was 50%
certain that the black belt did belong to him. T.H. was re-interviewed and stated that he
was also 50% sure the black belt belonged to Lennon but that he had never seen the blue
belt.

The SBI, after obtaining permission to search Lennon’s phone, located two photographs
taken by Lennon. In one photo, Lennon is seen photographing himself while standing in
front of a bathroom mirror. Lennon is shirtless wearing jeans with a blue belt that
appears to be identical to the blue belt found around his neck the morning his body was
discovered. (See Exhibit E.) The other photo is of Lennon in a purple polo shirt tucked
into khaki shorts. Lennon is wearing a black belt that appears similar to the belt found
tied to the cross bar the morning his body was discovered. (See Exhibit F.)

Surveillance Video

The SBI acquired surveillance video from two sources, Spinner Court Apartments and a
private residence in the area.

With respect to the Spinner Court surveillance video, the SBI acquired and reviewed
hours of footage from two cameras. One of the cameras is labeled “CAM1 BACK SIDE”
(hereinafter “Camera 1”) and intermittently records two angles from the top of one of the
buildings on Spinner Circle. One angle faces northeast towards Chestnut Street and the
other angle faces west towards a soybean field, neither provides a view of Lennon’s
home. This footage was reviewed and appears to have recorded nothing of any
significance to this investigation.

The other camera is labeled “CAM2 COMMUNITY BUILDING” (hereinafter “Camera


2”) and intermittently records four angles from the community building in Spinner Court.
One angle faces southwest and catches the back corner of Brimhall’s apartment, the
second faces west into a grassy field between the apartments, and the third angle faces
north towards Chestnut Street. None of these three angles provides a view of Lennon’s
home and they appear to record nothing of any significance to this investigation. The
fourth angle on Camera 2 faces south and captures the back side of the home occupied by
T.H., C.H., and D.S. (See Exhibit G.)

Review of the fourth angle on Camera 2 from 01:01:58 a.m. to 01:02:04 a.m. on August
29, 2014 reveals a lone figure walking east (in the direction of Bladen Rental Properties
and the swing set where Lennon would later be found) on or near the dirt road that passes
in front of the home of T.H. The image of the person appears in the upper left corner of
the screen walking from right to left immediately after the camera pans to the fourth

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angle. Camera 2 records the person walking as described for approximately three
seconds before panning away. (See Exhibit H, which is a screen shot from the video just
before Camera 2 pans away. The lone figure is marked with a red circle.)

As Exhibit G illustrates, the dirt road in front of T.H.’s house dead-ends to the west at a
soybean field. Members of the T.H. household were re-interviewed and asked if anyone,
other than residents, had been at or left their home during that time frame. They
responded that no one had been at their home at that time. T.H. was asked what route
Lennon normally took when he came to visit. T.H. reported that Lennon normally left
from his back door and approached his home from the west passing between a wooden
fence (visible in the video) and the soybean field.

The video lacks sufficient clarity to determine the age, race, or gender of the person on
the video. While this video is not conclusive, taken in context with other evidence, in
particular, W.M.’s statements, it does suggest that Lennon departed his home at
approximately 1:00 a.m. and walked alone past the home of T.H. in the direction of the
trailer park and swing set where his body was found 6 ½ hours later.

Regarding the video from the private residence, a woman named B.N. stated to Lennon’s
family members that a black family that lived near T.H. had surveillance video from the
night that Lennon died and that the video showed two white males walking towards the
area where Lennon was found. B.N., when interviewed by the SBI, stated that she had
been told about the video and the two white men by S.T. The SBI interviewed S.T.’s
mother, Sh.T. Sh.T. stated that her home was equipped with an ADT security system,
which included an exterior camera that faced Juniper Street towards the T.H. household.
S.T. was interviewed about her conversation with B.N. S.T. confirmed that she had
talked to B.N. about having a camera but denied that she ever mentioned footage of two
white men on the video the night Lennon died. S.T. stated that she had never even
looked at the video. The SBI has reviewed the video and there is no such footage on the
video, nor is there any other footage of significance to this investigation.

The Autopsy

In order to determine if there was any foul play in Lennon’s death, the Coroner, law
enforcement, and the District Attorney’s office requested that the Office of the Chief
Medical Examiner (“OCME”) perform an autopsy. Lennon’s body was taken to Chapel
Hill and the autopsy was performed by Chief Medical Examiner Dr. Deborah Radisch.
Special Agent Chad Barefoot of the SBI was present during the autopsy. The belts used
in the hanging were transported with the body to the OCME.

In determining whether there was foul play in the death of Lennon, investigators sought
an autopsy to determine if there was any evidence of wounds that would not normally be
associated with a self-induced hanging, e.g., contusions or abrasions to the head and face,
defensive wounds, scratches on the neck, foreign material under the fingernails, or the
presence of controlled or impairing substances in the blood.

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Prior to beginning the autopsy, the Chief Medical Examiner took approximately 13
photographs of Lennon’s body, including his face, neck, chest, and arms.

Dr. Radisch completed and released her autopsy report on October 12, 2014. The report,
which is public information, indicates injuries consistent with death “due to asphyxia
secondary to hanging.” The report opines that the injuries to Lennon’s neck were
consistent with the “noose submitted with the body.” Petechial hemorrhaging in the right
eye is also consistent with death by asphyxiation.

Other findings are also significant. The report notes that “no foreign material” was found
under the nails. There were no lacerations or contusions present on the scalp and “no
skull, rib, or long bone fractures.” The report notes that there were numerous red ants on
the body during the examination and that “abrasions consistent with ant bites” were
present on the face, chest, arms, and scrotum. For nearly five hours, Lennon’s body
remained on the ground where it was first lowered while law enforcement attempted to
identify him. Crime scene photos taken that morning clearly show the presence of red
ants on Lennon’s face and arms. Further, a toxicology report of Lennon’s blood indicates
that there were no drugs or alcohol present in his system at the time of his death.

Dr. Radisch was interviewed by Agent Barefoot upon completion of the autopsy and she
stated that, other than the ant bites, she did not observe any other injuries on the body of
the victim.

Dr. Radisch was interviewed by the FBI on February 23, 2015. She confirmed her earlier
findings that the cause of death was “asphyxia due to hanging.” She stated that there
were no defensive wounds on Lennon’s body and there was no physical evidence to
indicate that he had been strangled to death. Dr. Radisch stated that she determined the
manner of death to be “suicide” based on all the facts known to her.

At some point it was suggested to Dr. Radisch that it would have been impossible for
someone to hang themself on the swing set where Lennon was found. Dr. Radisch
travelled to examine the site for herself and determined that it would have been possible
for someone to hang himself from the swing set.

The Mortuary

On August 30, 2014, after completion of the autopsy, Lennon’s body was taken to F.W.
Newton and Sons Mortuary in Elizabethtown, NC. Fairley Newton is the general
manager of the mortuary and a licensed embalmer and he performed the embalming of
Lennon’s body with the assistance of other employees. Mr. Newton was interviewed by
the SBI because he had told Lennon’s family, members of the community, and reporters
that he had observed injuries to Lennon’s body that reminded him of corpses he had
embalmed where the deceased had been killed in a bar-room fight.

During the interview Mr. Newton told the SBI that he had observed marks on Lennon’s
hands, burn marks on the inside of both arms, burn marks or abrasions on the chest,
biceps, forearms, face, and below the neck but above the collarbone. He described the

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marks as though someone had pushed the skin down on gravel rocks. He also stated that
he had observed a “knot” on the top right side of Lacy’s head. He did not photograph,
diagram, or take notes of these observations.

Mr. Newton was presented with the photographs taken by the OCME and asked to
indicate by marking with a pen the location of the marks, burns, and knot he had seen on
Lennon. With respect to the injuries he noted on Lennon’s face and neck, he stated that
he did not see the injuries in that photograph. He also stated that he did not see the knot
on Lennon’s head in the photograph. Mr. Newton was able to identify in the photograph
areas of the chest and arms that he had previously identified as burns marks or abrasions.

Dr. Radisch was re-interviewed to specifically address the concerns raised by Mr.
Newton. Dr. Radisch confirmed that there were no contusions or “knots” on Lennon’s
skull when she examined his body. Dr. Radisch further stated that an autopsy involves
pealing the scalp from the skull (from the back of the head forward) and examining the
skull for contusions or bruising. She observed neither. Dr. Radisch also told the SBI that
there were no burns or abrasions on Lennon’s body - only ant bites.

Michelle Brimhall

At a meeting with the SBI and the District Attorney convened on September 9, 2014,
Lennon’s family presented the SBI with a list of written investigative questions
concerning this case. The family expressed the view that they believed Lennon was the
victim of murder and opined that there were multiple potential motives and/or suspects.
The family’s concerns centered around two topics, namely, Michelle Brimhall and the
shoes found on Lennon the morning he was discovered.

Rumors had circulated through the community that Lennon, a 17-year-old black male,
may have been killed because of his relationship with Michelle Brimhall. Ms. Brimhall
was, at the time, a 31-year-old white female who lived across the street from Lennon in
Spinner Court apartments. She has been interviewed several times in connection with
this investigation. There is no evidence that she, or any of her associates, are implicated
in Lennon’s death.

Ms. Brimhall indicates that she and Lennon entered into a dating relationship in February
2014, when Lennon was 16 years old. They did not live together but Lennon would often
spend the night with her. The investigation has revealed that the relationship was sexual
in nature.

Rumors in the community have implicated Ms. Brimhall as being one of the sources of
his depression in that she had broken off the relationship and was seeing other men
within view of Lennon. Ms. Brimhall stated that she and Lennon were still dating at the
time of his death but she had not spoken to Lennon since Wednesday, August 26, 2014.
On that date, Brimhall reported, Lennon had wanted to talk to Ms. Brimhall but she told
him it was late and they could talk another time.

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Interviews with W.M., T.H., C.H. (T.H.’s mother), and J.J. all confirm that Brimhall had
terminated her relationship with Lennon at least a week prior to his death because she had
caught him going through her cell phone.

There is no other evidence available at this time to suggest that Ms. Brimhall, her
estranged husband, M.B., or any other boyfriend or associate was in any way responsible
for or involved in Lennon’s death.

Attempted Robbery of Lennon and his friends

On October 1, 2013, Lennon, T.C. (white male), and J.J. (white male) were the victims of
an attempted robbery committed by J.H. (white male), N.D. (white male), and an
unidentified black male. Various sources, including Lennon’s brother Larry Lacy, W.M.,
and others have suggested that one or more of the suspects in the robbery incident may
have been responsible for or involved in Lennon’s death.

Larry Lacy was interviewed by the SBI to determine what information he may possess
regarding the investigation into Lennon’s death. Larry informed the SBI that in February
2013 he had been renting a room at a house in Bladenboro. He stated that J.H. began
renting a room in the same house in March 2013. Larry became upset over J.H.’s
behavior in the house and J.H. was kicked out. Apparently, J.H. and N.D. were upset
about J.H. being kicked out and “tried to jump” Larry. Larry reported that he “beat up”
J.H. and N.D. Larry did not express the belief to the agent that the attempted robbery of
Lennon and his friends was in retaliation for the beating. To date, the SBI has not been
able to establish any link between this incident and the death of Lennon Lacy.

Lennon’s Shoes

When Lennon was found by S.B., he was wearing a shoe on his left foot and the
corresponding right shoe was on the ground beneath his right foot with his toe hanging
inside the opening. The shoes were white Nike Air sneakers and were later discovered to
be size 10 ½. There were no laces in the shoes. (See Exhibit I.)

At a meeting with the family, law enforcement, the District Attorney’s office, the
family’s attorney, and attorneys from the NC NAACP, the family stated that Lennon had
recently purchased a brand new pair of grey Nike Jordans with neon green soles and that
said shoes were missing. The family was shown a photograph of the white shoes found
on Lennon and were unequivocal that the shoes did not belong to Lennon. When asked
what size shoe Lennon wore, his brother, Pierre Lacy, stated size 13.

At a subsequent meeting with the family attended by the District Attorney’s office, law
enforcement, and the family’s attorney, the white shoes were produced. At that meeting,
upon physical examination of the shoes, it was first revealed to the family that the shoes
were size 10 ½. The family remained adamant the shoes were not Lennon’s and that he
wore a size 12.

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The SBI interviewed the West Bladen High School JROTC Instructor. Lennon was a
member of the JROTC program. The instructor was shown a picture of the white shoes
and stated that he recognized the shoes and believed they belonged to Lennon. He was
certain that he had seen Lennon wear the same shoes during physical fitness training. He
stated that he had recently measured Lennon’s shoes for new uniform low quarter/dress
shoes and that Lennon had measured a size 10 ½. According to the instructor, that was
the size shoe he ordered for Lennon and that he had the shoes on hand. The SBI took the
JROTC shoes into evidence.

T.H. was re-interviewed and stated that he was 80% certain that Lennon owned shoes
identical to those found on him when his body was discovered but had never seen him
wear shoes without laces. In an FBI interview, T.H. recalls that Lennon was wearing
white sneakers with laces on the evening of August 28.2

A photograph posted on Facebook at 1:58 p.m. on October 26, 2014 shows Lennon
wearing low-top white sneakers – brand and size unknown.

Desecration of Lennon’s grave

On September 9, 2014, the Bladenboro Police Department received a call from a


Bladenboro resident reporting that there was a “pile of flowers” on the road from one of
the grave sites and that a temporary grave marker had been damaged. She also noted
footprints in the fresh dirt and reported what she believed to be digging of the grave site.
BPD responded and spoke with a witness who reported seeing a young white male
walking through the graveyard that morning. One of the responding officers was able to
identify a suspect based on the description of the second witness. Officers located the
suspect, a 17-year-old white male, and asked him if he knew anything about the damage
to the grave. The suspect was returned to the grave and his shoes matched the prints left
at the scene. The suspect waived his Miranda rights and admitted to damaging the
marker and the flowers. The suspect claimed that he did it because Lennon bullied him
every day at school and at church. The apparent digging was determined to be unrelated
to the desecration and was likely a small sinkhole caused by heavy rains. The suspect
was charged by BPD with one count of Defacing a Grave or Grave Site, a class 1
misdemeanor. The suspect was prosecuted by the District Attorney’s office – he pled
guilty, as charged, on April 13, 2015. He was sentenced to a 45-day suspended sentence
and placed on supervised probation for twelve months. He was also ordered to remain in
school full time or to maintain full time employment. Finally, he was ordered to
complete 48 hours of community service. The SBI has determined that there is no link
between this incident and the death of Lennon Lacy.

2
The laces were never recovered and investigators were unable to determine the reason the laces were
removed.

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Conclusion

In addition to the information contained in this synopsis, the SBI and FBI were
approached by numerous individuals advancing theories that Lennon’s death was a
homicide. To date, neither agency has been presented with credible evidence that
Lennon’s death was anything other than a suicide.

13
Exhibit A

14
Exhibit B

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Exhibit C

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Exhibit D

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Exhibit E

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Exhibit F

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Exhibit G

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Exhibit H

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Exhibit I

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