• Judge: No death penalty in homicide of Gaston high school student

    By: Ken Lemon


    GASTON COUNTY, N.C. - A local prosecutor said Wednesday he would not pursue the death penalty in the slaying of a Gaston County high school student.

    Brandon McCall, 17, was gunned down in November.

    McCall's father had to look at the men accused of killing his son for the first time Wednesday in the courtroom.

    Bryan McCall cried as he watched Taikeem Littlejohn, the man accused of murdering his son, stand before a judge.

    In November, Tyquese Hopper called Brandon McCall and told him he wanted to meet to buy drugs, according to police that said it was a plot.

    But Hopper and Littlejohn planned to rob him instead.

    Littlejohn came to the hearing to get a court-appointed attorney but it was the first time Bryan McCall heard how police believe his son was shot.

    "He got into the car," said Locke Bell, district attorney. "At some point, he hit the gas and turned and the shot went in his back."

    Hopper was already on probation for two separate assault charges when the shooting happened.

    But the DA said he will not seek the death penalty and both men are entitled to bond.

    Brandon McCall's uncle begged the judge for a $1 million bond.

    He said Brandon McCall's death has stuck an emotional blow to the entire family.

    "He didn't just kill my nephew. He killed my family," said Johnny McCall.

    The judge agreed to a $1 million bond.

    Once Littlejohn has an attorney assigned to his case, both he and his attorney can return and ask for a new bond.

    If he does, McCall's family plans to return to make a plea for a high bond again.

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