Manslaughter Charges Dropped In North Carolina Pit Collapse Case :: Charlotte Lincolnton Criminal Defense Lawyer

Attorney J. Bradley Smith answering the question: “What are the long term effects of being convicted of a crime?”

A tragic case in Lincolnton, North Carolina reached its end after a Superior Court Judge dismissed charges against a man related to the April deaths of two young children. The decision means that Jordan Keely Arwood can now put the criminal case behind him and move forward with grieving the horrible loss of his six-year-old daughter and seven-year-old nephew.

Court Gavel 1 Charlotte DUI DWI Lawyer North Carolina Manslaughter Attorney.jpgJudge Ali Paksoy handed down the decision during a hearing at the Lincoln County Courthouse last Thursday. Judge Paksoy determined that there was no probable cause to justify the two counts of involuntary manslaughter facing Arwood and chose to dismiss both counts entirely.

The nightmare for Arwood began back in April when his daughter and nephew where playing in their grandmother’s back yard near a large dirt pit that Arwood had been working on. As Arwood continued working on the project a portion of the pit’s wall collapsed without notice, trapping the two young children under a mass of dirt. The collapse was so large that it took emergency responders more than 12 hours to locate the bodies of the children.

Investigators in Lincoln County picked apart the case searching for someone to hold responsible for the tragedy. Ultimately, they settled on Arwood, claiming that because the county had never issued any building permits to Arwood that the man demonstrated culpable negligence in their deaths.

However, our very own Brad Smith worked hard to prove that though the accident was an unspeakable tragedy, nothing done by Arwood justified criminal charges. Smith has since that while it was a “freak accident” it was not a criminal act. Judge Paksoy ultimately agreed, deciding that prosecutors were not able to demonstrate criminal negligence in the case.

Smith noted that not only did Arwood construct a wooden buttress around the hole to support the walls, but Arwood’s mother and another adult were outside watching the children at the time of the collapse. The children managed to slip away when the adults were not looking and got into the pit. Sadly, the precautions undertaken by Arwood were not enough to ensure their safety.

In the end, Brad Smith noted that if going to jail would help bring the kids back Arwood would gladly agree to it. The reality is that punishing someone just for the sake of punishment only succeeds in compounding an already tragic situation. Now that the criminal charges have been dismissed, Arwood and the rest of the family can put the criminal matter behind them and move forward with the difficult process of grieving the untimely loss of the two young children.

Arnold & Smith, PLLC is a Charlotte based criminal defense, traffic violation defense and civil litigation law firm servicing Charlotte and the surrounding area. If you or someone you know need legal assistance, please contact Arnold & Smith, PLLC today at (704) 370-2828.

About the Author:

jbradley.jpgBrad Smith is a Managing Member with Arnold & Smith, PLLC where he focuses on the areas of criminal defense, DUI / DWI defense and traffic defense. Mr. Smith began his legal career in Charlotte, North Carolina as an Assistant District Attorney. In 2006, he entered private practice focusing almost entirely on criminal defense.

Born and raised in Charlotte, Mr. Smith is married with one son and one daughter. In his free time, he enjoys traveling, boating, golf and hiking near his mountain home in western North Carolina.


“Judge dismisses charges against man in April wall collapse,” by Joe DePriest, published at

See Our Related Videos From Our YouTube Channel:

See Our Related Blog Posts:

For-Profit Mug Shot Websites Under Fire :: Charlotte North Carolina DWI DUI Criminal Attorney Lawyer

Charlotte Airport Admits To Conducting Warrantless Vehicle Searches :: Charlotte North Carolina DWI DUI Criminal Attorney Lawyer

Contact Information