WENDELL — A Johnston County man charged in the death of his neighbor grew more and more distraught as he talked on the phone with an emergency dispatcher in the wake of the Dec. 21 shooting.
Robert Furey, of 200 David Road, told dispatchers the victim, 15-year-old Nicholas Exley, had walked into his house unannounced. Furey told dispatchers he didn’t know who was coming in the door before he fired a high-powered rifle at the person.
But investigators say Furey had actually been showing the boy the gun when it accidently discharged.
Exley, a student at Corinth Holders High School, lived across the street from Furey, who told the dispatcher he had known the boy since he was a small child.
“Oh, my God. I can’t believe I just killed my little buddy,” Furey told the dispatcher.
Investigators charged Furey with voluntary manslaughter. He is in the Johnston County jail without bond.
Lt. J.R. Gerrell said investigators charged Furey after consulting with District Attorney Susan Doyle.
“Due to the totality of the circumstances, that was the charge we thought was appropriate,” Gerrell said. “There was alcohol involved.”
Gerrell said it didn’t appear that Furey meant to shoot the boy.
“The difference in murder and manslaughter is malice. This was a terrible accident,” Gerrell said.
During a three and a half minute phone call with an emergency dispatcher, Furey admitted to the shooting and calmly told the dispatcher that Exley was already dead. Gerrell confirmed that paramedics declared Exley dead at the scene.
As Furey continued to talk to the dispatcher, she reassured him that help was on the way and kept him on the line while they waited for emergency crews to arrive.
Furey told her he did not know it was Exley coming in his house. “Oh, my God. Someone was trying to come in my door and I didn’t know what was going on,” Furey said.
Department of Public Safety records show that Robert Keith Furey has three convictions for driving while impaired, the most recent in October 2011.
The News & Observer contributed to this story.