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Murder charge certified against Michael Brown, accused in Franklin County shooting

Murder charge certified against Michael Brown, accused in Franklin County shooting

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ROANOKE — A judge has certified gun and murder charges against Michael Alexander Brown, the Franklin County man accused of shooting and killing his mother’s boyfriend at his home in November.

That decision came at the close of Brown’s preliminary hearing Wednesday in Franklin County General District Court. It marked Brown’s first public appearance this year.

Clad in a jacket and tie, Brown smiled and nodded to friends and family as he was brought before the judge by deputies.

He is charged with second- degree murder and use of a firearm in the Nov. 9 shooting of Rodney Wilfred Brown, 54.

His mother, Vanessa Hanson, testified for several minutes about the events that unfolded the day of the shooting.

Brown, a 22-year-old Marine corporal, left Brown’s Hardy home that day and became the subject of an 18-day multi-state manhunt. He remained at large until Nov. 27, when he was finally discovered back at the same house where the shooting occurred.

His case now will proceed to the next grand jury session.

In the days prior to the shooting, in mid-October, Brown went AWOL from his post at Camp Lejeune in North Carolina, where he was a combat engineer with the 8th Engineer Support Battalion. Witnesses spotted him in Franklin County in early November, but he vanished after the attack.

During the search for him, police located multiple vehicles he’s believed to have used, including a large RV found abandoned in Roanoke on Nov. 14. The recreational vehicle, found in a church parking lot near Carlton Road, carried seven handguns, two rifles and an assortment of ammunition, according to an inventory filed by investigators.

Law enforcement reported seizing more than 70 items ranging from gloves and a necktie to night vision goggles and a ghillie suit.

Brown is a 2015 graduate of Franklin County High School.

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Dozens of search warrants related to last year’s manhunt for Michael Alexander Brown provide few new details about the homicide he’s charged with, but they give a detailed overview of both the technological methods used to search for him during his 18 days at large and the steps he took to elude capture.

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