Clinton man charged in murder, under $1.5M bond

By Chris Berendt - [email protected]
Draughon -

A Clinton man who police say was showing a gun off when it discharged Tuesday, is now facing a second degree murder charge in the fatal shooting of another man struck down by the bullet.

Elliott Draughon, 53, has been charged with second degree murder. He is also facing charges of felony possession of cocaine, simple possession of a Schedule VI controlled substance and possession of a firearm by felon, according to details available through his booking report at the Sampson County Detention Center.

On Tuesday afternoon, Clinton Police officials released details surrounding the death of Willie Murphy, 63, of 308 E. Carter St., Clinton, who they said sustained a fatal gunshot to the neck in a “suspicious” incident. Murphy was reportedly killed Tuesday afternoon after a day of drinking and fishing with Draughon, who brought the man to the Sampson Regional Medical Center emergency room with a fatal gunshot wound.

Details provided by Draughon to police and hospital officials were sketchy on Tuesday, but Neighborhood Improvement Team officers investigated the shooting, pulling together the pieces and subsequently took out the charges.

“He was showing the gun off and shot Murphy,” said Clinton Police Chief Donald Edwards on Wednesday.

The two were at 302 Eastover Ave., Clinton, at the time, the police chief said.

Draughon’s bond has been set at $1,550,000 secured, including $1.5 million for the murder charge alone. He is set to appear in court on Nov. 3.

Clinton Police Department officers responded to Sampson Regional at 2:38 p.m. Tuesday in reference to the gunshot victim. Murphy was pronounced dead at the hospital due to the gunshot wound.

The person who drove Murphy to the hospital was Draughon, who told hospital staff and police that he had been with Murphy all day. The two had been drinking and fishing, according to Draughon, but at the time, he couldn’t tell where they had been, police said in the initial statement released late Tuesday afternoon.

Draughon further explained that he was messing with a gun while the two were inside his vehicle, and the gun fired. He then drove Murphy to the emergency room. Police said that Draughon could not recall where he was driving from, but recalled traveling on Beaman Street in the area of his residence. Draughon knew he lived on Beaman Street, but did not know the house number.

“He hadn’t lived there long,” Edwards said.

It was around that same area where he threw the gun out of the vehicle, police discovered. Officers canvassed the area and found that Draughon lived at 212 Beaman St., Apt 2. They also discovered a handgun on the sidewalk in the area of 225 Beaman St.

“I would say he was impaired,” Edwards said of Draughon on Tuesday.

On Wednesday, Edwards noted Draughon’s status as a convicted felon.

According to the N.C. Department of Public Safety, Draughon’s convictions in Sampson, from the 1980s, included two convictions — selling a Schedule VI controlled substance and larceny. His only other conviction, according to N.C. court records, came in 2005 when he was convicted of driving while impaired in Duplin County.


By Chris Berendt

[email protected]

Reach Managing Editor Chris Berendt at 910-249-4616. Follow the paper on twitter @SampsonInd and like us on Facebook.

Reach Managing Editor Chris Berendt at 910-249-4616. Follow the paper on twitter @SampsonInd and like us on Facebook.