Man charged in 2-by-4 beating to appear in court on manslaughter charge

by: Jenna Deery Updated:

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CABARRUS COUNTY, N.C. - The man who police say beat another man to death with a 2-by-4 piece of lumber has been charged with voluntary manslaughter.

Daniel Locklear, 28, will go before a judge on the upgraded charge Monday. He's being held on $1 million bond.

Deputies say Locklear severely beat 21-year-old James Armstrong with a 2-by-4 on Tuesday night at his home near Harrisburg. Armstrong died Sunday, said Cabarrus County Sheriff Brad Riley.

Deputies said Armstrong lived with Locklear’s brother, 31-year-old David Locklear, who died of an apparent drug overdose Tuesday.

Two of Daniel Locklear’s friends who planned to attend the hearing dispute what deputies have said. They say that Armstrong was visiting David Locklear and did not live with him. They also say that Daniel Locklear was acting in self-defense when he assaulted Armstrong and never meant to kill him.

“He’s a very mild-mannered guy. He has a baby and a wife that really cares about him, and I think that he deserves that, that they should at least see that,” said Hannah Barnhill.

Armstrong’s mother, Patti Wright, told Eyewitness News that her family believes Locklear was motivated by revenge.

Locklear’s wife said her husband didn’t know Armstrong and he was trying to protect his brother’s property after Armstrong tried to break in to the brother’s home.

Investigators haven’t said what they believe motivated the attack.

Locklear was initially charged with felony assault.