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Family frustrated with investigation of rapper’s death

by Jordan Green

Autopsy results released by the NC Office of the Chief Medical Examiner in Chapel Hill for Richard ‘Trey’ Michaud have provided tantalizing new details about the gunshot wound that took the life of the lead MC for Tre’ Stylez last December. Officials are still waiting for additional reports before determining whether Michaud died as a result of a homicide, an accident or a self-inflicted gun wound.

The autopsy report concluded that a struggle or altercation between several of the people present at a party in Greensboro occurred when the shot was heard at about daybreak on Dec. 3. The revelers were intoxicated and the sequence of events leading up to the incident remains unclear, but the Office of Chief Medical Examiner confirms that the barrel of a handgun had been placed in Michaud’s mouth when the shot was fired.

The Office of Chief Medical Examiner found that a ‘“mushroomed’” recovered bullet that killed Michaud was consistent with a ‘“black talon type of ammunition.’” There was no injury to the rapper’s lips or teeth, but the bullet traveled slightly upwards and severed his brainstem, leading to immediate loss of consciousness and quick death.

Lt. Brian James of the Greensboro Police Department criminal investigation division said Monday that police are still waiting for additional reports to come back from the State Bureau of Investigation. James said he expects the police to make a determination in the next two weeks.

‘“Any of those [homicide, suicide or accident] can be a possibility,’” he said. ‘“Occasionally, a death can be ruled inconclusive, but we would prefer not to rule inconclusive.’”

Michaud’s mother, Terry Jones, said it was comforting to learn from the autopsy that her son suffered little pain, but otherwise she is growing increasingly frustrated with the progress of the investigation.

She said she has been told by experts that the angle of the gun is unnatural for a self-inflicted gunshot, and fears that the police will settle for easy answers rather than pursue more difficult but troubling leads.

‘“I do realize that [the shot] being consistent with a self-inflicted wound implies certain things, but they’re not givens,’” she said. ‘“There are many other scenarios.

‘“I knew my son very well,’” she added. ‘“He shared so much with me that sometimes I would say, ‘Please don’t share that with me.’ If there’s certain things that I learn, I’m prepared for that. It will be difficult for me to believe that this was a purposeful self-inflicted gunshot.’”

One of the most troubling details is a report by some of those present at the party that the gun was moved after Michaud was shot. The autopsy report states, ‘“A gun was allegedly found next to his body but was moved by the residents.’”

Jones said none of the half dozen partiers present at the scene of the shootings have approached her to tell her what they know about her son’s death.

She pointed to a discrepancy in the reporting of the sequence of events surrounding the shooting. One of the residents, David Godwin, told YES! Weekly in December that he recalled his car radio clock reading 7:03 a.m. when the shot was fired. It wasn’t until 7:25 that the Greensboro Police Department and Guilford County Emergency Services responded to a call at the house, according to multiple sources.

Some of those present at the scene have told YES! Weekly that they were in a state of shock and lost track of time after the shooting.

‘“I don’t believe that just because they were intoxicated no one knows what’s going on,’” Jones said. ‘“If they were in an altercation they were aware enough to be moving around. No, I don’t buy that for a minute.

‘“Did ya’ll go take showers?’” she asked. ‘“Did you stand around singing ‘Kumbaya’? Did you just stand there looking at the blood? If there were drugs in the house, did it take you that long to get rid of them?’”

Jones said the police have shared few details with her. Lt. James said Monday that he had heard about the alleged gap between the time of the gunshot and the reporting of the incident, but could not reach Detective Leslie Holder, who is in charge of the investigation, to determine if the police have developed any explanation for it.

‘“I’ve got lots of questions and they seem less than important to the police department,’” Jones said. ‘“I’m not saying they’re not doing their jobs. Maybe they’re doing things I have no idea of, but what else can I go on?’”

To comment on this story, e-mail Jordan Green at jordan@yesweekly.com

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