GREENSBORO — A jury found a Greensboro man not guilty Tuesday in the shooting death of another man at an apartment in 2018.
Edward Neely Jr. had been charged in the killing of 51-year-old Ronald Lee Barham at the Summit Station Apartments. On Tuesday, he was found not guilty of first-degree murder and assault with a deadly weapon with intent to kill inflicting serious injury, Neely’s attorney Brandon Goldsborough said.
“He was acting in self-defense,” Goldsborough said after the verdict. “He was actually a victim of an attack.”
The shooting occurred shortly after Neely arrived at the apartment at 3203 Orange St. on Feb. 8, 2018, Goldsborough said.
People at the apartment had been drinking and doing drugs, Goldsborough said, and a fight broke out. Barham and another man, Curtis Allison Jr., approached Neely and “Ed had to use his firearm,” Goldsborough said. His client was not drinking or doing drugs at the time, he added.
Barham was shot once, and Allison was also injured in the shooting. Allison was treated and released from a hospital after the shooting.
Neely left the apartment after the shooting and was arrested about 10 days later after a Crime Stoppers tip led police to his location at the Shell gas station at 2906 S. Elm-Eugene St.
Although Neely knew the owner of the apartment, he only knew Barham through Neely’s job as a clerk at the gas station, Goldsborough said. He also alleged that Neely “had witnessed other instances where Ronnie had used a knife in an assault.”
In 2018, police described the shooting as the result of a prior dispute.
If convicted, Neely, 59, would have faced a life sentence without the possibility of parole, said Goldsborough.
Steve Cole, the chief assistant district attorney for Guilford County, could not be reached for comment Tuesday.
Contact Kenwyn Caranna at 336-373-7082 and follow @kcaranna on Twitter.