King shooting victim’s family upset about killer’s plea deal

KING, N.C. -- Kendra Gilham is angry.

“When you find something out like this, it's just another smack in the face,” Gilham said. “I'm not going to stop until I get justice. I won't.”

It's been almost one year since her son 17-year-old Chanler Gilham was shot and killed at an apartment complex on Pineview Drive in King.

“My son doesn't get to live his life,” Gilham said.

On Dec. 3, police say Roger Dale Phillips III was charged with shooting and killing Chanler.

Police say the two knew each other and there was evidence of illegal drug activity in the case.

The two also had been in an ongoing dispute, according to police.

“He took my son's life,” Gilham said. “He never gave him a chance.”

But on top of the grief is the anger that Phillips will serve a maximum of six years, after being offered a plea deal she says the family knew nothing about.

“I do not even agree with this decision,” Gilham said. “I don't even know why it's even an option.”

Phillips was originally charged with first-degree murder, but that was changed to voluntary manslaughter.

“It's like my son's life doesn't even matter at all,” Gilham said.

The North Carolina Attorney General's office is handling the case.

Laura Brewer from the AG’s office sent this statement to FOX8:

“The defendant was initially indicted under first degree murder. However, based on evidence that came out during the investigation and other factors, including North Carolina’s Stand Your Ground law, voluntary manslaughter is an appropriate charge. The defendant is scheduled to plead guilty to that charge on Monday, November 27. We are very sorry for the family’s loss.”

“I don't understand how you can indict someone on first-degree and not want to keep pushing that,” the victim’s sister Chandra Gilham said.

Chandra says it feels like the family hasn't had a say in getting justice for her brother.

“We had no choice,” she said. “We weren't told before. We just gotta be in court Monday.”

It’s a loss the 21-year-old says she'll never get over.

“It's hard to think it's been a whole year without seeing him, talking to him because we talked almost every day,” Chandra said.

“I'll never be the same without him,” she said. “I know that for sure."