ROBESON COUNTY, NC (WMBF) - Emotions remain high across Robeson County and will for awhile, as the entire community is healing from the loss of a 9-year-old boy and his older brother.
"They didn't deserve to die the way they died," cried Annette Bullard, the victims' mother.
Walter Locklear, 27, is accused of killing 9-year-old Dakota Bullard and his older brother, 22-year-old Lynn Bullard.
Investigators said Lynn Bullard was found dead in a field in Maxton, while his younger brother was found about a mile away in a truck that was set on fire.
In light of the allegations against him, Locklear's mother came to his defense.
"He's had some issues with the law, but he's not a bad person," Pam Sutton, the suspect's mother, said with tears in her eyes.
That leaves two families, who have been friends since the 1970s, fighting conflicting battles.
"I kept saying it couldn't be Walt," Sutton said. "There's no way he could do it to a child."
When asked if she thought Locklear could do to her sons what he's accused of doing, Bullard said she didn't know.
"That's what I want to know," she said. "Lynn would give him the shirt off his back and he wasn't no trouble child."
"It doesn't make any sense," Sutton said. "(It's) not the Walt that I know."
Relatives were eager to talk on both sides of the family.
And Donna Locklear, the victim's Aunt.
"I'm not mad at them, his brothers, his mom," Donna Locklear, the victims' aunt, said. "I'm not mad at none of them because they had nothing to do with what Walter chose to do if he did do it."
Walter Locklear's mother had a message for the community.
"I want them to quit saying he's just a cold-blooded killer, especially to a child, because he's not," she said. "I'm not just saying that because I'm his mother."
For Bullard, who has lost her two sons, she is glad to be together with the rest of her family.
"We're hurting but we're together," she said.
Both families expressed sorrow for the other today. Pam Sutton said the best possible outcome for all is justice.