Police: Man accused of hitting Gastonia man with lid of toilet tank, killing him

GASTONIA, N.C. — A man was killed Thursday inside a group home on Fraley Church Road, according to Gastonia police. James Thomas Robinson, 57, was charged with first-degree murder in the case.

First responders were called to the home just before 5:30 p.m. Thursday. They found 26-year-old Brandon Patty unconscious and bleeding from his head, investigators said. He died at the scene.

Detectives learned Robinson and Patty lived in the same home.

They believe Robinson hit Patty in the head with the lid of a toilet tank, killing him.

The suspect then reportedly sat in the room with the man he killed until police arrived.

Danny Wingate is a former neighbor of Patty.

They lived next door to each other at a duplex in Lincolnton.

“It’s so tragic because Brandon was a humble guy,” Wingate said.

They were close friends until Patty moved out and landed a spot at the group home where he lost his life.

People who befriended Patty in Lincolnton said he trusted everyone.

“It’s so sad that he passed in such a tragic way,” Wingate said. “I hope and pray whoever done this justice would prevail because it just don’t make no sense,” Wingate said.

People who stay at the group home are under minimal supervision.

They are people reportedly closest to living on their own.

Channel 9 reached out to the operator of the group home to see if that will change. We are waiting to hear back.

Robinson was arrested and taken to the Gaston County jail. He is being held without bond.

The motive for the killing is unknown.

The investigation is ongoing.

No further information has been released.

This is a developing story, check back with wsoctv.com for updates.

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