GREENSBORO, N.C. (WGHP) – A Winston-Salem man sentenced to life in prison for shooting an unarmed man in the back and killing him is scheduled to be freed from prison in a couple of years.
George Anthony Bruton, now 59, was convicted of first-degree murder in Forsyth County Superior Court on April 7, 1995, with codefendant Willie Lawrence Townsend in the death of Kurtis LeGrant Mobley on March 30, 1994.
The North Carolina Post-Release Supervision and Parole Commission announced Monday that it was releasing Bruton on Aug. 6, 2025, if he completes the commission’s Mutual Agreement Parole Program, which is a scholastic and vocational process that is a three-way agreement among the commission, the Division of Prisons and the offender.
MAPP includes a strict protocol that can take years to complete and review. Some inmates later fail to meet those terms and aren’t released.
North Carolina abolished parole in cases involving murder and rape as of Oct. 1, 1994, and the commission is charged with considering parole for offenders who were sentenced under guidelines before that date.
Townsend was convicted of second-degree murder, was sentenced to 20 years in prison and was released after serving 7, in April 2002.
Bruton was 19 years old when he shot Mobley, also 19, of Winston-Salem as the two men argued in the 2700 block of Piedmont Circle in Winston-Salem shortly after midnight on a Wednesday, police told the News & Record at the time.
What happened that night
As described in court documents, the argument began when Mobley allegedly shouted an obscenity at Bruton’s girlfriend while she stood near a window of an apartment building, and Bruton went out behind the building and confronted him.
While Bruton argued with Mobley and another man, Derrick York, at the rear of the building, Townsend retrieved his 9 mm semiautomatic pistol, went to the back porch and watched the argument. He then fired toward Mobley, York and a woman who was watching, court records say.
That’s when Bruton also started shooting. Mobley tried to run, and Bruton yelled obscenities at him and shot him in the back, killing him, the records say. Bruton later told the court that he thought Mobley had a gun and was reaching for it.
Bruton also shot at York, who also was running away, then chased him down and struck him in the head with the gun and kicked him. Bruton and Townsend then fled, court records say.
Bruton was arrested on the 700 block of Ferrell Court, without incident, early that morning, and Townsend, then 23, was arrested at a Kernersville motel that afternoon, police said.
On Sept. 6, 1996, the North Carolina Supreme Court denied appeals by Bruton and Townsend on a variety of technicalities, with Justice Sarah Parker writing that the court found no errors in the trial and upheld both convictions and sentences.
Although Townsend had no prior record of state incarceration and none after his release on the second-degree murder charge, Burton has an extensive record of jail time dating back to 1981, when he was 17 years old.
He had been released on May 23, 1993, from probation after being jailed for three weeks of a 2-year sentence for a charge of assault with a deadly weapon.
He also had a series of drug charges for possession, delivery, paraphernalia and sniffing glue, two offenses for driving while impaired and with a revoked license and a variety of larceny charges, with the first in July 1981.
He spent 3 years behind bars, from June 1982 to March 1985, on three related theft and breaking-and-entering charges in Guilford County and nearly a year of a 2-year sentence for his second DWI/revoked license charge in 1989.
The MAPP program
To be part of the MAPP program, an inmate must show a desire to improve through educational and training programs. There is a 3-year walk-up to release that, the MAPP website states, requires the inmate:
- To be in medium or minimum custody.
- Not to be subject to a detainer or pending court action that could result in further confinement.
- To be infraction-free for a period of 90 days before being recommended.
- If sentenced under the Fair Sentencing Act, to be eligible for 270-day parole or community-service parole.
The program also stipulates that “there should be a recognizable need on the part of the inmate for involvement in the MAPP program and the inmate should express a desire to participate in improving educational achievements, learning skills, personal growth programs and modifying specific behavior.”
Bruton is housed at Roanoke Correctional Institute in Tillery and has 52 offenses, although none since 2013. Most of them were for disobeying orders and using profane language. He did have one assault and two sexual act charges.
If you have questions or want to comment, you can contact the commission at (919) 716-3010.