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Thursday January 20th

Josh Bailey murder trial moves forward

Defense and prosecution attorneys in the case of murdered Chapel Hill resident Josh Bailey spent most of Monday piecing together the intricacies of Bailey’s social life and murder in the summer of 2008.

On the third day of the trial of Brian Gregory Minton, 23, the defense questioned the testimony of the first witness, Jack Johnson II.

Minton is charged with first-degree murder and kidnapping in 20-year-old Bailey’s July 2008 death.

Although Minton did not shoot Bailey, the state contends that he led a group, including alleged shooter Matt Johnson, to kill him. Testimony by Jack Johnson to Orange-Chatham District Attorney Jim Woodall on Friday corroborated that claim.

The cross-examination by Minton’s attorney, James Glover, focused on Jack Johnson’s relationship with each member of the group involved in the murder.

Jack Johnson — a Chapel Hill High School graduate who was 19 at the time of the murder — said he became friends with Bailey at Caribou Coffee on Franklin Street, and they shared many of the same friends.

Glover referred back to his opening statements made on Thursday, when he said the group was too fluid to have a designated leader.
He also questioned Jack Johnson’s answers to police investigators when he was first questioned in September 2008.

Jack Johnson said he lied to investigators to protect friends he cared for. But he said he protected Minton out of fear, because Minton told him his father was connected to the Hells Angels.

“I wasn’t really looking at the situation the way I was supposed to,” he said. “I was just giving them answers.”

Glover refuted Jack Johnson’s statement and said interviews in which he told police of Minton’s involvement did not suggest that he was intimidated by the family.

Josh Bailey’s adoptive father, Steve Bailey, then took the stand.

He said Josh Bailey suffered from several mental illnesses — including attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, post-traumatic stress disorder and bipolar disorder — which caused him to struggle with communication and doing several tasks at once.

“He’d get really lost, and he’d just shut down,” Bailey said.

Steve Bailey said he became worried about Josh Bailey around the time of his murder after two weeks with no contact, which was unusual for Josh, who was close to his family.

But it was when he missed a planned meeting with his grandmother and failed to call his mother on her birthday that Steve Bailey said he began to worry something was wrong.

The last witness to testify Monday was Ryan Lee, who said he was present for Josh Bailey’s murder but did not take part in it.

He said he didn’t watch Matt Johnson shoot Bailey, but he said he saw Johnson point the gun at Bailey and then heard a thump.

“I turned my head,” Lee said. “I didn’t want to see Josh get shot.”
He said he knew the group charged with the murder because he would drive them places in exchange for gas money.

Lee repeated much of what Jack Johnson testified on Friday — that Josh Bailey was accused of leaking information on the group’s illegal activities to police, beaten, bound with duct tape, taken to a woody area and shot in the head.

Lee said Josh Bailey was questioned by the group in Minton’s garage, but then either Minton or another group member, Jacob Maxwell, decided to move to a more isolated area.

Contact the City Editor at city@dailytarheel.com.

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