Special Report: A Family Waiting For Justice

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HERTFORD, N.C. (WAVY) — It’s a crime that has left a North Carolina county on edge.

Investigators at the Hertford County Sheriff’s Office are working hard to figure out who shot and killed Michael Lassiter and his father, James Beale, inside their Murfreesboro home in 2016.

“The way they died, it wasn’t called for,” said Lillian Lassiter, who is Michael’s mother.

Lassiter said it has been a hard time for their family, losing a father and grandfather, but they’re getting through it.

Sheriff Dexter Hayes said he vividly remembers arriving at the crime scene, and it still bothers him to this day.

“It was quiet that night. Michael’s vehicle was running and the music was playing loudly,” he said.

Hayes said he knew both Lassiter and Beale from his time patrolling their neighborhood.

Last year, his office announced a $10,000 reward, through the governor’s office, to find information to solve the crime.

“We have some tips that lead to dead ends but we’re still offering this reward to anyone who has information. It’s hard when you’re talking to the families and reassuring them that we’re still trying to work this case. We haven’t closed it. It’s not gone cold. We’re trying to give positive reassurance to the families that we will get justice,” Hayes said.

Bringing justice to victims’ families hits close to home for Sheriff Hayes.

He credits his uncle’s shooting death to getting into law enforcement.

“My uncle never received justice. The thing that drives me to this day is to make sure no other family goes through what I went through.That’s why we’re working very hard and I won’t let it go. We won’t stop working on it until they receive justice,” he said.

Violent crimes like this one are uncommon in the county, according to Hayes.

He believes someone knows who shot Lassiter and Beale.

But, the “no snitching” mentality could be the reason why the killers haven’t been caught.

“It might be, but it’s all in God’s hand. They’ll see it. They got to see it,” Lassiter’s mother said.

She’s still hopeful that someone will do the right thing by speaking up.

Sheriff Hayes is also hopeful someone in the community will help them.

He’s also confident in his investigators to solve the crime.

That’s why he has a warning for those who’ve committed, and those who are thinking about committing crimes.

“As long as I’m here as sheriff anyone who decides to commit a crime in my county, if we have information to arrest them and prosecute them, we will and won’t stop till we do,” he said.

If you have any information, you can contact the Hertford County Sheriff’s Office at (252) 358-7800 or you can anonymously call CRIMESTOPPERS at (252) 358-7841.

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