In Day Two of the Tolson murder trial, opening statements and prosecution witnesses

By on August 29, 2023

LeeAnn Fletcher

Moments after the prosecution’s first witness—former Dare County dispatcher Raven Brown—took the stand on Day Two of the John “Jay” Tolson murder trial, the courtroom heard his 911 call on the morning of July 22, 2020, describing LeeAnn Fletcher’s condition.

“I think she fell last night…She had been drinking,” Tolson said on the call. “I just can’t get her to wake up.”

Within minutes, first responders were at Fletcher’s Kitty Hawk home, where they testified that they found Tolson on the front porch and Fletcher unresponsive in the bathtub. Ultimately, Fletcher was transported to Norfolk General Hospital, where she died three days later.

In the trial that began on Monday, Aug. 28 in Dare County Superior Court, Tolson is charged with second-degree murder in her death.

During her opening statement on Aug. 29, District 1 Assistant District Attorney Amber Younce focused on Tolson’s actions before he made the 911 call. Suggesting that Fletcher sustained her mortal injuries on July 20, Younce stated that on July 21, Tolson Googled terms like “how bad are concussions” and “the second day of concussion” and the next day, called an ex-girlfriend for advice about how to deal with Fletcher’s condition.

She also said that Tolson never followed up to check on Fletcher’s condition after she was in the hospital and also referred to the “inconsistent stories” he told about what happened in the house at 990 W. Kitty Hawk Road.

Referring to the length of time it took Tolson to call 911, Younce asked: “If she fell, why not tell?”

In her opening statement, Assistant Public Defender Jennifer Wells charged that first responders failed to secure Fletcher’s home. In discussing Fletcher’s condition, Wells said that none of the firefighters who responded to the home on July 22 found an open would on Fletcher nor blood at the scene.

She did say that responders found “trash bags overflowing with beer cans” and cited a July 28 autopsy report that she said concluded that Fletcher “was in very poor shape [with] hepatic cirrhosis with evidence of liver failure.”

And in a reference to the determined social media campaign by Fletcher’s friends and family that criticized law enforcement for an inadequate response to her death, Wells stated that a “lot of fake information was spread.” She also asserted that the social media effort “muddied the waters,” for Kitty Hawk and NC State Bureau of Investigation (SBI) investigators.

The rest of the day was devoted to the testimony of the first seven of what are expected to be 19 witnesses called by the prosecution—all of them who in one way or the other, responded to the situation or administered to Fletcher on July 22, 2020.

Overall, the witnesses described Fletcher as having a puffy and swollen face with signs of jaundice, or yellowing, on her body and eyes. They also stated that they did not see blood at the scene or head wounds on Fletcher and for the most part, they described her as largely unresponsive. The exception in that case was Valerie Heyes, the Dare County EMS lead tech who testified that Fletcher’s eyes were responsive to light and that she moaned out in pain” when being moved.

Heyes also provided an account of more extensive injuries on Fletcher’s body than the other witnesses testified to seeing. She stated that while examining Fletcher in the house, she found bruising on the torso, swelling and edema around the left shoulder, a wound to the right lower leg and additional bruising on the left wrist and right ankle.

During cross examination, the defense team took aim at Heyes’ statement that she did not know Fletcher, and she acknowledged that her brother tried to date Fletcher and that there was one prior contact. But Heyes maintained that “I know of her, that’s it.”

One key battleground during the questioning and cross examination of the prosecution witnesses was the issue of what factors were responsible for Fletcher’s condition. Heyes stated that the swollen head and the yellowish color indicated “head trauma.” Holly Dennis, an Advanced EMT for Dare County EMS, also suggested that “head trauma” was likely indicted by the swelling. Bradley Antons, a Paramedic Fire Captain in Kitty Hawk, also said he saw indications of a brain injury.

During cross examination, the defense repeatedly raised the issue of possible alcohol abuse. Cross examined by Wells, Kitty Hawk Police Patrol Officer Kyle Martin Hubbs reporting seeing beer cans in the yard of the home and Dennis said she saw numerous beer cans on the premises. In the cross of Dare Medflight Captain Corey Scott, the defense surfaced the idea that an eruption of bleeding from Fletcher’s mouth and nose while she was in an ambulance could be attributed to an internal problem caused by alcohol.

Tomorrow’s witness list for the prosecution will include medical professionals.

Addressing concerns about a major storm approaching our area this week, Judge Jeff Foster opened the Aug. 29 session by telling jurors he will send them back to their homes “when we see with clarity when it’s going to hit.”

“We’re not going to make you sit here while the hurricane is raging,” he said.

SEE ALSO: Jury seated on Day 1 of Tolson murder trial 


Barnhill Contracting Company will receive sealed proposals for Manns Harbor – EMS/Fire Facility (EMS-8), Kitty Hawk – EMS/Fire Facility (EMS-9), Manteo – Youth Center on January 09, 2024. Times to be given on via addendum #01. See the following SCOPE OF WORK: BP 100 – General Trades, BP 105 – Final Cleaning, BP 205 – Demolition, BP 390 – Turnkey Concrete, BP 400 – Turnkey Masonry, BP 500 – Turnkey Structural Steel & Misc. Steel, BP 505 – Light Gauge Metal Trusses, BP 740 – Roofing, BP750 – Siding, BP 790 – Caulking/Sealants, BP 800 – Turnkey Doors/Frames/Hardware/Toilet Specialties/Accessories/Division 10, BP 840 – Curtainwall/Storefront/Glass/Glazing, BP 925 – Drywall/Framing, BP 960 – Resilient Flooring/Carpet/Base/Epoxy, BP 980 – Acoustical Ceilings, BP 990 – Painting and Wall Coverings, BP 1230 – Finish Carpentry and Casework, BP 1250 – Window Treatments, BP 2100 – Fire Protection, BP 2200 – Plumbing, BP 2300 – HVAC, BP 2600 – Electrical, BP 3100 – Earthwork/Turnkey Site, BP 3213- Site Concrete, BP 3290 – Landscaping. Scopes of work may be added and/or deleted at the discretion of the Construction Manager.

Bid Location and Time: Bid opening will be held in the Barnhill Contracting Rocky Mount Training & GPS Technology Room: 800 Tiffany Bvld, Rocky Mount, NC 27804. Time is as follows: January 09, 2024 at 10:00am and 2:00pm. Times per packages to be given on via addendum #01.

Barnhill Contracting Company will receive, open, and read publicly all bids received in person in the Training & GPS Technology Room at the main office and listed with the virtual viewing at the link to be posted on Barnhill’s Plan Room.

Bids will not be accepted from bidders that are not pre-qualified. No facsimile or email submissions are permitted. Sealed bids are to be hand delivered to the bid opening location noted above or mailed Sealed Bids can be delivered before 9:00am the day of the bid to the Barnhill Contracting Company Office at 800 Tiffany Blvd., Suite 200 Rocky Mount, NC 27804. Attention “Clint Hardison.”

The pre-bid meeting will be held in Person & Zoom Meeting on December 06, 2023 at 10:00 am at the Barnhill Contracting’s Rocky Mount Main Conference Room: 800 Tiffany Bvld, Rocky Mount, NC 27804.

The pre-bid meeting link can be located on Barnhill’s online Building Division Plan Room ( and below. A preferred brand alternates meeting will be held via the same link at the end of the Prebid meeting.

Bid Documents can be viewed or downloaded through Barnhill’s online Building Division Plan Room ( after 12/04/2023.

All Bidders are strongly encouraged to include opportunities for HUB participation wherever possible in their respective Bid submission.  HUB participation is a part of this contract and must comply with all requirements set forth in the Bid Documents.

The Construction Manager and Owner reserve the right to add pre-qualified bidders. The Construction Manager and Owner reserve the right to reject any and all bids. Should you require additional direction, please call Barnhill Contracting Company, (Clint Hardison – 252-802-0740).

Clint Hardison is inviting you to a scheduled Zoom meeting.

Topic: Dare EMS – Phase 2 Pre-Bid Conference

Time: Dec 6, 2023 10:00 AM Eastern Time (US and Canada)

Join Zoom Meeting

Meeting ID: 823 9069 2985

One tap mobile

+17866351003,,82390692985# US (Miami)

+13126266799,,82390692985# US (Chicago)

Dial by your location

  • +1 786 635 1003 US (Miami)
  • +1 312 626 6799 US (Chicago)
  • +1 470 250 9358 US (Atlanta)
  • +1 646 518 9805 US (New York)
  • +1 346 248 7799 US (Houston)
  • +1 213 338 8477 US (Los Angeles)

Meeting ID: 823 9069 2985

Find your local number:

Join by SIP

Join by H.323

  • (US West)
  • (US East)

Meeting ID: 823 9069 2985



Comments are closed.