Man charged with neighbor’s murder

By Sarah Willets

April 22, 2014

LUMBERTON — About two weeks after he reported finding 59-year-old Leo Warren Cromartie dead, a Lumberton man has been charged with killing him, according to Robeson County Sheriff Kenneth Sealey.

Dephaney Rockwell Blue, of Bee Gee Road, was arrested this morning at about 10 and charged with second-degree murder in the death of Cromartie, who lived just over 100 feet from Blue’s home near Derrick Road, Sealey said.

Sealey said a police report lists Blue as the person who reported finding Cromartie’s body at about 9:30 a.m. on April 6, although Maj. Anthony Thompson, chief of detectives for the Sheriff’s Office, previously told a reporter he believed the death was reported by a friend who also lived in Cromartie’s home.

An autopsy found that Cromartie was killed by blunt force trauma to the head, Sealey said. Sealey did not know what weapon was used.

Sealey said Cromartie and Blue, 40, knew each other.

“They were supposedly having a get together over that night when that happened,” Sealey said. “… The next morning this man was found deceased in his home.”

Sealey said witness accounts led to Blue’s arrest.

“I don’t foresee any more arrests on this one right now but the case is still open,” he said.

Blue has been jailed under a $30,000 bond. He was jailed on larceny charges in 2011 in Wake County.