Murder victim's head, other remains found

Family calls killing 'a hate crime'
Aug. 21, 2013 @ 08:13 AM

Searchers found the rest of the remains of murder victim Damond Lamont "Peanut" Kincaid, including his head, just before 11 a.m. Tuesday about 500 feet from where the main portion of his body was found Monday.

Investigators believe that the body was intact when it was dumped in the woods off N.C. 105 near Linville Gorge in the early morning hours of Aug. 11 but that animals carried off parts in the days afterward, Burke Sheriff Steve Whisenant said. Kincaid's body was taken to Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center in Winston-Salem for an autopsy.

The man accused of shooting Kincaid, David Matthew Higgins, 32, of Jim Wall Street in Morganton, and the man accused of learning about the killing and not reporting it, Jacob Dean Coley, 17, of N.C. 126 in Morganton, arrived for their first hearing in Burke District Court on Tuesday about the same time the rest of Kincaid's decomposed body was found. Though charged in Burke County, Higgins is being held in the Caldwell County Detention Center. Officials would not say why he is being held separately from Coley.

Members of Kincaid's family arrived at the Burke County courthouse not long after the court session began. Kincaid's wife, Sandy, began to audibly sob as soon as she took her seat, and those around her tried to console her. They left before Coley's hearing, deciding they had seen and heard enough. In the lobby, Sandy Kincaid wept uncontrollably.

When Higgins was being led into the Burke County Courthouse on Monday, reporters asked why he had killed Kincaid, and Higgins said, "It was the drugs." But relatives of Kincaid said Tuesday they don't believe that.

"This is not about drugs, this is a hate crime," said Shauntel Edmondson, Damond Kincaid's sister. Kincaid was black, Higgins is white. "We pretty much knew something was up. He (Higgins) had talked to several people that he was going to kill my brother, starting about Friday, before this happened. He keeps hollering about 'drugs.' He planned this defense. I'm gonna prove that somehow."

Whisenant said that investigators have no evidence that the killing was a hate crime but will look into the possibility.

Kincaid's family reported him missing to the Caldwell County Sheriff's Office on Aug. 14. Authorities in Caldwell say he had last been seen Aug. 10 in Granite Falls in a Hummer driven by Higgins, which belonged to Higgins' uncle.However Jorden Robinson, whose sister is the mother of Kincaid's oldest child and was also with the family Tuesday, said he and Higgins, also known as "Big Pun," were more recently seen together at a Dollar General on N.C. 18 in the Hartland area of Caldwell County. Investigators later found two small-caliber bullet casings in the back seat, and blood stains in the front passenger seat.

Robinson also said Kincaid had been staying temporarily with Higgins as recently as two weeks ago, just prior to his disappearance. Kincaid was gathering some of his belongings to haul back to Winston-Salem, Robinson said.

Higgins at first denied any connection to Kincaid's disappearance, but Coley, Higgins' neighbor, later told investigators that Higgins had come to his house in the eary morning hours of Aug. 11 and said he shot Kincaid and dumped his body. Confronted again on Monday, Higgins admitted he killed Kincaid and dumped his body. He then led detectives to where the decomposed body, though some parts by then were missing.

Higgins was charged with murder, and Coley with accessory after the fact for murder.

Kincaid had been living in Winston-Salem with his wife, Jean, for the past year. Prior to that, he lived in the Hartland area of Caldwell County. He left behind two children, ages 5 and 3, and a 7-year-old stepdaughter.

"He was a great man, a good father," said his cousin Houston Patterson. "I've known him all my life. No man deserves to be treated like that. The man lost his life, his wife, and his three kids. I just saw him three weeks ago at my sister's engagement, and now he's gone.

"We want answers, we want justice, and we want peace. I can't even imagine what he went through. It's hard on everybody."