D.A. considering murder charges against deputy in death of N.C. man

Livingston (Courtesy)

RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) – The Harnett County district attorney will present second-degree murder charges against a Harnett County deputy to a grand jury on April 16 in the shooting death of a Harnett County dad.

The attorney for the family of John Livingston, Jesse Jones, told WNCN North Carolina that the possible charges will be against the deputy, Nicholas Kehagais, who shot and killed Livingston, 33.

Livingston’s death had earlier been ruled a homicide by the state medical examiner.

Livingston was shot three times in the chest and upper limbs during a Nov. 15 incident in Spring Lake. Livingston suffered injuries to both lungs during the shooting, the autopsy said.

The information about possible second-degree murder charges comes a day after Harnett County Sheriff Larry Rollins abruptly resigned.

Livingston’s body had evidence of “cocaine and excessive alcohol consumption,” according to the autopsy.

The incident happened just before 3:40 a.m. at a residence near the intersection of Stage Road and W. Everett Drive in Spring Lake when two deputies arrived on scene to conduct an assault investigation, the Harnett County Sheriff’s Office said.

An affidavit confirmed deputies did not have search warrant for the home of Livingston.

An affidavit said Livingston made contact with Kehagais in front of the residence as deputy John Werbelow went around back.

Kehagais asked Livingston for permission to search the residence for the suspects.

A detective made contact with Kehagais by phone and learned from Kehagais that Livingston denied the request initially but then granted consent.

At this point, Kehagais reported he saw a vehicle behind the residence matching the description of one owned by a suspect in the assault investigation, the affidavit said.

Kehagais attempted to arrest Livingston but he became “combative” and a struggle ensued, the documents say.

The affidavit says Kehagais reported there were witnesses to the struggle.

Kehagais took Livingston to the ground and used a stun gun on him but it was ineffective.

Werbelow then used pepper spray on Livingston but he kept fighting.

Kehagais dropped his stun gun while trying to handcuff Livingston.

The affidavits say Livingston then used Kehagais’ stun gun against the deputy in the abdomen.

Livingston’s roommate Clayton Carroll said he never saw Kehagais drop his stun gun.

“He did not drop the taser, the officer never dropped the taser,” Carroll said.

Court documents then say Kehagais drew his service weapon while being shocked and fired it three times, hitting Livingston in the “upper chest and possibly the arm.”

Kehagais said he didn’t know if he had shot Livingston until the stun gun stopped working.

Webelow radioed “shots fired” then both deputies began immediate medical treatment.

The deputies said they treated Livingston for the gunshot wounds.

Kehagais said he believes a person inside the home recorded the incident on a cell phone.

The affidavit says the deputies were still applying pressure to Livingston’s wounds when a Harnett County detective arrived.

EMS personnel pronounced Livingston dead at the scene.

A search warrant was applied for and executed at the residence on W. Everett Drive around six hours after the shooting.

Court documents show four shell casings, one stun gun, one stun gun cartridge, a wallet and a set of keys were seized during that search.

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