Wilmington man pleads guilty to involuntary manslaughter in 2013 shooting death

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Reginald Eugene Laughlin
Reginald Eugene Laughlin

A Wilmington man was sentenced to three to five years in prison in connection with the shooting death of a 20-year-old man in December 2013.

Reginald Eugene Laughlin, 31, of Princess Place Drive, pleaded guilty on Thursday to involuntary manslaughter and possession of a firearm by a felon in connection with the fatal shooting of 20-year-old Drayshawn Dowd on Dec. 7, 2013.

Police found Dowd, who had suffered multiple gunshot wounds, in the front yard of a home in the 4400 block of McClelland Drive on Dec. 7, 2013, Wilmington Police Department Spokeswoman Linda Rawley said. Laughlin was arrested at his home in April 2014. He was initially charged with first-degree murder, according to court records.

Related story: Police investigate shooting death on McClelland Drive

According to District Attorney Ben David, investigators were unable to get witnesses to cooperate in the investigation into Dowd’s death.

“Despite the fact that there were dozens of people in the area of the shooting, investigators could not find any individuals who would tell them who was responsible,” David said. “Our ability to get justice in cases where there is no physical evidence is dependent upon people who witnessed the crime coming into court and testifying.

“The police worked very hard but can only do so much. Community safety is a shared responsibility.”

According to the N.C. Department of Corrections, Laughlin has been convicted of eight felonies and 15 misdemeanors.