“Uncomfortable truth” in sentencing hearing of Caitlin Ridgeway

20-Year-Old Caitlyn Ridgeway was sentenced to prison in Onslow County Superior Court Friday morning on second-degree murder for the 2017 homicide of William Clifton who was a former deputy.

20-year-old Caitlin Ridgeway pleaded guilty in Onslow County Superior Court Friday, Nov. 1, 2019 to Second-degree murder as well as robbery with a dangerous weapon in regards to the July 2017 homicide of William Clifton.

William Clifton, homicide victim

Ridgeway was represented by Jacksonville defense attorney, Paul Castle. Castle said in the hearing proceedings that he had asked Ridgeway, “Do you blame your mother? Do you blame God? Who do you blame?” He continued, “Caitlin blames herself.” Castle said to the court that this case has a lot of, “uncomfortable truth” and there are many victims in this case, “at the defense table and represented by the state.”

Paul Castle, Defense Attorney (Left Center) State Prosecutor ADA Bob Roupe (Right)

Castle gave many condemnatory details to the court about Ridgeway’s family structure leading up to the fatal death of Clifton. He said, “When Caitlin was 16, she was alone in Will’s bedroom. Will asked Caitlin to come on the bed. Will and Caitlin’s relationship began.”

February 2017 Caitlin moved out of her family home with her mother due to tensions between her and her mother, Castle said.

The relationship between the then teenage girl and William Clifton began when he was still a deputy at the sheriff’s office.

It was further stated in court that Ridgeway’s mother, Daina Hendricks was married to a deputy, David Pickett who was close friends with Clifton. Hendricks is a nurse and has worked in the jail as a jailor nurse. Clifton originally had a romantic relationship with Hendrick’s prior to the romantic relationship with her daughter Ridgeway, Castle told the court.

Ridgeway was employed at Monsters Pizza, and had all of her credits to graduate high school but did not due to not completing her senior project the defense told the court.

The Honorable Senior Resident Superior Court Judge Charles Henry was presiding over the hearing and ordered Ridgeway complete a GED program and have a mental health evaluation.

Lynette Bush, the victims ex-wife and mother of his three children gave a calm yet passionate address to the court to tell Will’s life as she and their children see it. “He was an excellent father” and “there are only three victims as far as I see it and they’re his children,” in response to hearing the defense attorney Castle’s statements on victims on both sides. Bush said Clifton was a Marine who fought for this country proudly and overseas in Afghanistan. She continued on how much of an impact he had on their children’s lives in a positive way. Since Clifton was murdered, their youngest son had to leave Jacksonville because of conflicting matters surrounding their fathers death. Bush said she didn’t always approve of Clifton’s choices but he was a good man and a great father.

State Prosecutor ADA Bob Roupe said the gun used in the murder belonged to the co-defendant Will Welch’s father. The gun was kept under the fathers mattress in the home. Welch and Ridgeway had spent time together in the home leading up to the time of the murder, even on the night of said ADA Roupe. The two however were not present in the home during the time of the murder, “between 9:30-10:30 PM bases on evidence.”

The weapon was sent out for forensic examination at Fayetteville PD confirming that the co-defendants father’s weapon was in fact a match in the case, the prosecutor said.

The victim suffered numerous gunshot wounds to his body, suffered blunt force trauma to his skull where he was hit over the head with a baseball bat, and the prosecutor confirmed that there’s particular evidence given in the autopsy is consistent with strangulation. Roupe said, “a cord, rope…” was consistent with the wound to the neck of the victim, though a bat, cord or rope was never found. The co-defendant Welch admitted to the bat being used and by he himself. The prosecutor said Welch told investigators that Ridgeway pulled the trigger but she never would admitted doing so.

Ridgeway was sentenced by an Alford plea. The Alford Plea is where a defendant acknowledges the fact there is enough evidence for the state to reach a conviction, but doesn’t directly admit guilt.

Ridgeway’s co-defendant William Welch, pleaded guilty to the same charges back in March and he is awaiting sentencing now that he will not be utilized as a witness to testify against Ridgeway. ADA Roupe said that will likely happen in the next month or so.

These two were charged in the fatal shooting of 48-year-old former Onslow County deputy William Clifton, a resident of Richlands. Clifton had resigned from his position as a deputy during the time of his death and had other gainful employment.

Welch told detectives that he saw Clifton at Woodlands Park, hugging and kissing the then 17-year-old teen Caitlin Ridgeway. ADA Roupe stated that there has been no evidence rendered to show that the romantic relationship between the victim and the defendant Caitlin Ridgeway was not consensual, and the legal age of consent in the State of N.C. is 16. There are particular cases where charges may be brought forward for underage relationships like with teachers and coaches but not in this case, those elements were not met in any way.

Ridgeway was sentenced to serve a minimum of 24-years and a maximum of 32-years in the N.C. Dept. of Adult Corrections. The remaining charges for injury to personal property are dismissed as a part of the plea agreement and Ridgeway is not eligible for an appeal.

Watch the hearing live stream on The Onslow Beat FB.

Editors note: Caitlin Ridgeway’s name was spelled inconsistently in error as “Caitlyn” in the original publishing and has since been corrected in entirety.

Two Sneads Ferry teenagers arrested for vehicle break ins

Two Sneads ferry teenagers have been arrested for breaking and entering at a local country club.

(SNEADS FERRY)- Two Onslow County teenagers have been arrested for breaking into vehicles at a local country club.

On October 1, 2019, Onslow County Sheriff’s Office responded to the North Shore Country Club in Sneads Ferry for a report that several vehicles had been broken into. Video security footage was obtained from the business and posted to the Onslow County Sheriff’s Office Facebook Page, asking for the public to help identify the individuals responsible.

Detectives received tips from citizens and through the Crime Stoppers Program identifying two males;

Ryan Michael Carroll and Jason Travis Bibb. Both men were arrested and charged with:

  • Breaking and Entering Motor Vehicle
  • Attempted Breaking and Entering Motor Vehicle (MISDEMEANOR)
  • Conspiracy to Commit Breaking and Entering (FELONY)
  • Misdemeanor Larceny

Carroll, 17-years-old of Sherrill Loop Rd., Sneads Ferry, was arrested October 10, 2019. He received a written promise to appear and was released to his parent.

Photo Courtesy of OCSO

Bibb, 19-years-old of Yaupon Ct., Sneads Ferry, was arrested October 14, 2019. He received a $1,500 secured bond.

Photo Courtesy of OCSO

Ryan Carroll is on the NC COURTS Calendar for these charges next month on Nov. 7th. He has no other dates pending at this time on the database.

Jason Travis Bibb is also on the NC COURTS Calendar for Oct. 22nd in these charges. Bibb also has additional court dates on Nov. 1st and Nov. 6th for unrelated charges of:

  • No operators license
  • Drive/Allow MV No Registration

Neither teen has prior convictions listed in the NCDPS database.

Anyone with information about this incident may contact Onslow County Sheriff’s Office at 910-455-3113, Detective Simmons at 910-989-4049, or Crime Stoppers at 910-938-3273. Please refer to case 2019014487 when calling.

Crime Stoppers offers cash reward of up to $2,500 for information that is deemed of value or assistance to law enforcement. Information can also be anonymously texted via Text-A-Tip by typing TIP4CSJAX and your message to 274637 (CRIMES). Callers to Crime Stoppers may remain anonymous and never have to reveal their identity.

Cherry Point Marine arrested for sexual assault

(ONSLOW CO.)- A New Bern man was arrested for sexual assault this past week that occurred in July at the victim’s birthday party. OCSO responded to a report of sexual assault at OMH.

A marine who resides in New Bern, stationed at Cherry Point was arrested this past Thursday, Oct. 4, 2019 for sexual assault that occurred this summer in July.

July 28th OCSO deputies responded to Onslow Memorial Hospital due to a report of a sexual assault that occurred.

The victim of the sexual assault hosted a birthday party where the investigation revealed that the accused, Jamie Amilcar Amaya forced himself upon the victim.

Amaya, 29-years-old of Gurten Street in New Bern, was arrested October 4, 2019 without incident. Amaya was taken before a magistrate where he was charged with the following:

  • (2) Counts Second Degree Forcible Sexual Offense-Felony
  • Sexual Battery-Felony

Amaya was transported to the Onslow County Detention Center under a $20,000 unsecured bond.

Anyone with information about this incident may contact Onslow County Sheriff’s Office at 910-455-3113, Detective Lawrence at 910-989-4066, or Crime Stoppers at 910-938-3273. Please refer to case 2019011045 when calling.

Crime Stoppers offers cash reward of up to $2,500 for information that is deemed of value or assistance to law enforcement. Information can also be anonymously texted via Text-A-Tip by typing TIP4CSJAX and your message to 274637 (CRIMES). Callers to Crime Stoppers may remain anonymous and never have to reveal their identity.

30 Arrested across Onslow in a drug bust.

The rooster has flown the coop this Monday morning as OCSO issued press release in regards to 30 recent drug related arrests between Sneads Ferry, Jacksonville and Maysville in Operation Iron Rooster.

The rooster has flown the coop this Monday morning as OCSO issued press release in regards to 30 recent drug related arrests between Sneads Ferry, Jacksonville and Maysville in Operation Iron Rooster.

On Friday, October 4, 2019, members of the Onslow County Sheriff’s Office Drug Enforcement Unit conducted “Operation Iron Rooster.” This operation was the result of an investigation that began after the Drug Enforcement Unit received numerous complaints from citizens about drugs being sold throughout Onslow County.

 

The operation was conducted in partnership and cooperation with Naval Criminal Investigative Service (NCIS) and N.C. Department of Probation and Parole conducted after nearly a year-long operation seeking 42 targets, with 30 being arrested at the time of this press release.

Mueller, Peter Joseph, 61 YO, Sneads Ferry Rd., Sneads Ferry: Felony Possession With Intent to Sell/Deliver Cocaine; Felony Sell Cocaine; Felony Deliver Cocaine

BOND: $15,000 Secured

Edwards, Fredrick Montez III, 34 YO, Grants Creek Rd., Jacksonville: (2) Counts Felony Trafficking Opium or Heroin; Felony Possession With Intent to Manufacture, Sell, Deliver Schedule II CS.

BOND: $50,000 Secured

Massat, Robert Clarence, 53 YO, Kathy St., Sneads Ferry: Felony Sell Cocaine; Felony Deliver cocaine; Misdemeanor Possess Drug Paraphernalia

BOND: $8,500 Secured

Jackson, Brandon James, 18 YO, Mike Loop Rd., Jacksonville: Felony Possession With Intent to Manufacture, Sell, Deliver Marijuana; Felony Sell Marijuana, Felony Deliver Marijuana

BOND: $35,000 Secured

Perkins, Netia Imali, 26 YO, Dartmoor Trl, Jacksonville: Felony Possession With Intent to Manufacture, Sell, Deliver Methamphetamine; Misdemeanor Possession Drug Paraphernalia, Driving While License Revoked

BOND: $15,000 Secured

Ambrose, Quincy Lamar, 40 YO, Steeple Chase Rd., Jacksonville: Felony Manufacture Schedule I CS

BOND: $20,000 Secured

Kellum, Michael James, 35 YO, Willie Kellum Rd., Jacksonville: Felony Possession With Intent to Manufacture, Sell Deliver Cocaine; Felony Sell Cocaine; Felony Deliver Cocaine; Felony Manufacture Schedule II CS; Felony Conspire to Sell/Deliver Cocaine; Felony Conspire to Sell Deliver Cocaine; Misdemeanor Possess Drug Paraphernalia

BOND $45,000 Secured

Graham, Quentin Devon Jr, 21 YO, Harbord Dr., Midway Park: Felony Possession With Intent to Manufacture, Sell, Deliver Schedule VI CS; Misdemeanor Possess Marijuana Paraphernalia

BOND: $2,000 Secured

Goodson, Randolph Davis III, 22 YO, Jenkins Rd., Jacksonville: Felony Possession With Intent to Manufacture, Sell, Deliver Marijuana; Felony Manufacture Marijuana; Misdemeanor Possess Marijuana Paraphernalia

BOND: $5,000 Secured

Hunter,Alaa Dante McCartha, 28 yo Swamp Junction Rd., Jacksonville: Felony Possession With Intent to Manufacture, Sell, Deliver Cocaine; Felony Sell, Deliver Cocaine; Felony Manufacture Cocaine

BOND: $15,500 Secured

Alley, David Cameron, 31 YO, Colonial St., Beaufort: Felony Possession With Intent to Manufacture, Sell, Deliver Heroin Arrested at Craven County Jail

BOND: $5,000

Burroughs, William Ashford, 41 YO, Church Hill St., Pollocksville: Felony Sell Deliver Schedule II CS; Felony Deliver Schedule II CS; Felony Possession With Intent to Manufacture, Sell, Deliver Schedule II CS

BOND: $20,000 Secured

Bryant, Quentin James, 30 YO, Foy Ave., Maysville: Felony Possession With Intent to Manufacture, Sell, Deliver Cocaine; Misdemeanor Possession Marijuana; (2) Counts Misdemeanor Possession Drug Paraphernalia; Driving While License Revoked

BOND: $6,000 Secured

Carter, Trinity Money Sheryl An, 26 YO, New  River Dr., Jacksonville: (2 Counts) Felony Possession With Intent to Manufacture, Sell, Deliver Schedule II CS; (2) Counts Felony Sell, Deliver Schedule II CS; (2) Counts Felony Deliver Schedule II CS

BOND: $20,000 Secured

Williams, Paul Naketa, 42 YO, Seminole Trl., Jacksonville: Felony Possession With Intent to Manufacture, Sell, Deliver Schedule II CS; Felony Sell Deliver Schedule II CS; Felony Deliver Schedule II CS

BOND: $15,000

Bagarella, Christina Lucy, 37 YO, Carver Dr., Jacksonville: Felony Possession of Schedule II CS: Misdemeanor Possession Drug Paraphernalia

BOND: $2,500 Secured

Merritt, Steven Ray, 37 YO, Burgaw Hwy. Jacksonville: Felony Possession With Intent to Manufacture, Sell, Deliver Schedule VI CS; Felony Manufacture Marijuana; Felony Sell Schedule VI CS

BOND: $9,000 Secured

Stahl, Ericka Adele, 33 YO, Sandhill Rd., Sneads Ferry: Felony Possession With Intent to Manufacture, Sell, Deliver Sch I CS: Felony Manufacture Sch I CS; Felony Possession of Sch II CS; (2 Counts) Misdemeanor Possess Drug Paraphernalia

BOND: $9,500 Secured

Woodson, Melvin Ray, 49 YO,  Justice Rd., Jacksonville: Felony Possession With Intent to Manufacture, Sell, Deliver Sch II CS; Felony Possession With Intent to Manufacture, Sell, Deliver Sch I CS; Felony Maintain Vehicle/Dwelling for CS

BOND: $20,000 Secured

Bennett, Marvin Earl, 58 YO, Hwy 172, Sneads Ferry: Felony Sell, Deliver Sch VI CS; Felony Possession With Intent to Manufacture, Sell, Deliver SCH VI CS;

BOND: $5,000 Secured

Meadows, Allen Tyshan, 31 YO, Maple Ave., Maysville:  (2) Counts Felony Sell, Deliver Sch II CS; (2) Counts Felony Deliver Sch II CS; (2) Counts Felony Possession With Intent to Manufacture, Sell, Deliver Sch II CS

BOND: $40,000 Secured

Gaskin, Timmothy Alfred, 31 YO, River St., Jacksonville: Felony Possession With Intent to Manufacture, Sell, Deliver Marijuana; Felony Manufacture Marijuana; Misdemeanor Possess Marijuana Paraphernalia; Felony Sell Marijuana; Felony Deliver Marijuana

BOND: $10,000 Secured

Smith, James Clifton Keith, 31 YO Clearview Dr., Holly Ridge: Misdemeanor Possess Marijuana; Misdemeanor Possess Marijuana Paraphernalia; Misdemeanor Simple Possession Sch IV CS

BOND: $1,000 Secured

Williams, Michael Joseph, 37 YO Hoffman Forest Rd., Richlands: Felony Possession With Intent to Sell, Deliver Counterfeit CS; Felony Sell or Deliver Counterfeit CS; Misdemeanor Possession Drug Paraphernalia

BOND: $4,500 Secured

Johnson, Andre Tavara, 31 YO, Waterfall Dr., Jacksonville:  Felony Possession Sch II CS: Misdemeanor Drug Paraphernalia

BOND: $2,500 Secured

Moseman, Marshall Scott, 34 YO, Meadowview Ct., Jacksonville: Felony Possession With Intent to Manufacture, Sell, Deliver Sch VI CS; Felony Sell Sch VI CS; Felony Deliver Sch VI CS: Felony Maintain Vehicle/Dwelling/Place for CS; Misdemeanor Marijuana Paraphernalia

BOND: $10,000 Secured

Shaffer, Ronald Salvatore, 30 YO, Briar Creek Ln, Jacksonville Felony Possession Stolen Firearm; Felony Possession Methamphetamine; Felony Possess Drug Paraphernalia

BOND: $7,500 Secured

McIntosh, Nicholas Alexander, 24 YO, Churchhill Way, Midway Park: Felony Possession Sch I CS; Felony Possession With Intent to Manufacture, Sell, Deliver Sch I CS; Felony Maintain Vehicle/Dwelling for CS; Misdemeanor Drug  Paraphernalia

BOND: $9,500 Secured

Schindler,Jason Henry, 43 YO, Bumps Creek Rd., Sneads Ferry: (4) Counts Felony Sell Methamphetamine; Possession With Intent to Manufacture, Sell, Deliver Sch I CS, Deliver Methamphetamine; Possession of Drug Paraphernalia

BOND: $15,000 Secured

Scott, Terrance Linkfield, 39 YO, March Ln., Midway Park: (2) Counts Felony Possession With Intent to Manufacture Sch II CS, (6) Counts Sell/Deliver Cocaine

BOND: $45,000 Secured.

The investigation continues and more arrests are anticipated.

This operation displays to the citizens that their complaints do NOT go unnoticed.

 

Crime Stoppers offers cash reward of up to $2,500 for information that is deemed of value or assistance to law enforcement. Information can also be anonymously texted via Text-A-Tip by typing TIP4CSJAX and your message to 274637 (CRIMES). Callers to Crime Stoppers may remain anonymous and never have to reveal their identity.

Two arrests made for vehicle break ins through Onslow

A man and a woman have been arrested in a string of vehicle break-ins across the county. Both are in Onslow County Detention center.

Two people have been arrested for breaking into numerous vehicles throughout Onslow County.

Beginning in early September, Onslow County Sheriff’s Office deputies responded to areas in Richlands, Jacksonville and Sneads Ferry for reports of vehicle break-ins. One victim released video surveillance on social media of a male and female attempting to gain entry into their vehicles. With the images and following investigation, detectives were able to identify the suspects.  

There have been recent reports across social media and to law enforcement by citizens of attempted car break-in activity in Mimosa Bay, Justice Farms and The Preserves subdivisions. It has not been confirmed that these are all in relation to these two suspects.

Shannon Randall Turner and Cambrin Kai Bennett were subsequently identified. Both were arrested Monday, September 30, 2019, taken before a magistrate where they were charged with:

  • (14) Counts Felony Breaking and Entering of a Motor Vehicle
  • (14) Counts Conspiracy to Commit a Felony Larceny
  • (14) Counts Misdemeanor Larceny

Turner, 34-years-old of County Road, Daleville, in is currently detained in the Onslow County Detention Center under a $75,000 secured bond awaiting his first court appearance.

Bennett, 21-years-old of Pondview Circle, Hampstead, NC is currently in the Onslow County Detention Center under a $73,500 secured bond awaiting her first court appearance.

 An officer from NTB spotted their vehicle on N.C. 210 Sunday afternoon and with assistance from the Onslow County Sheriff’s Office, they were arrested at the Food Lion shopping center in Sneads Ferry.

The investigation is ongoing.

 

Mugshots Courtesy of OCSO

Anyone with information about this incident may contact Onslow County Sheriff’s Office at 910-455-3113, Detective Albright at 910-989-4016 or Crime Stoppers at 910-938-3273. Please refer to case 2019014199 when calling.

 

Crime Stoppers offers cash reward of up to $2,500 for information that is deemed of value or assistance to law enforcement. Information can also be anonymously texted via Text-A-Tip by typing TIP4CSJAX and your message to 274637 (CRIMES). Callers to Crime Stoppers may remain anonymous and never have to reveal their identity.

 

 

A “Google” report of child porn lead to the arrest of one Jacksonville man

And Jacksonville man was arrested Monday for possessing child pornography. This arrest as a result of the OCSO-ICAC task force unit following up on a cyber-tip that was reported by Google to the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children. Google has many ways of flagging various illegal activities.

A Jacksonville man was arrested Monday for possessing child pornography.

The Onslow County Sheriff’s Office Internet Crimes Against Children (ICAC) Taskforce unit, followed up on a cybertip that was reported by Google to the National Center for Missing Exploited Children.

Google reported several files of child pornography that came across their Google Photos service by user Kristopher Kenney of Jasmine Lane, Jacksonville, NC. Investigation into the matter showed that Kristopher possessed numerous images of child pornography stored on his Google Drive account.

Google detects and tags abusive images, also incorporates encrypted fingerprints into a cross-industry database. This enables law enforcement, charities and organizations to be able to better collaborate detection and removal of these kinds of images, as well as take action against any person involved with production, viewing or redistributing.

Here are some examples of common violations on Google & Google Play that flag the system with illegal activity:

  • Promoting sexually explicit content that is user generated. This includes implementing paid features that encourage sharing of objectionable content.
  • Apps with user generated content (also referred to as UGC) that does not have safe guards against bullying, threats or harassment especially towards minors.
  • Posts, comments or photographs within an app that are used primarily with the intent to harass, individually attack another person by means of abuse, malice or to ridicule.

Here are examples of what Google Play & Google consider common violations of illegal activities:

  •  Facilitating purchases, sales or distribution of illegal drugs to include prescription drugs without a prescription.
  • The depiction and encouragement of use and/or sale of drugs, alcohol or tobacco use by minors.
  •  Instruction on manufacturing, agricultural assistance or instruction (growing/harvesting) of illegal drugs.

Google states:
Child sexual abuse imagery is illegal.
At Google we work with child protection experts to find, remove and report this material because we never want it to appear anywhere on our products, including search results.

To report child sexual abuse content or to find help for a child in the US, please contact the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children.

Per a 2013 report from Google, NCMEC (National Center for Missing & Exploited Children) received 17.3 million images and videos of suspected child sexual abuse in 2011. That statistic is four times more than four years prior in 2007.

NCMEC’s database shows that over 18.4M cyber-tips were made in 2018.

Sexual exploitation is a serious problem that is worldwide. Google has worked in the fight against child exploitation since 2006 when joining with the Technology Coalition and other industry companies to cultivate solutions through technology with hardware and software development. Not only has Google worked towards fighting sexual exploitation but also has worked in combination with organizations to locate missing children.

On Monday, July 29, 2019, Kristopher Kenney was arrested by the Onslow County Sheriff’s Office and charged with the following:

  • (2) Counts of 2nd Degree Sexual Exploitation of a Minor
  • (2) Counts of 3rd Degree Sexual Exploitation of a Minor.

He was transported to the Onslow County Detention Center under a $200,000 secured bond.

This investigation is ongoing and further charges are expected.

The NCDPS database shows Kristopher Kenney to have prior convictions in 2002 for a hit and run, speeding, and operating a vehicle without  license. No other prior convictions or relevant charges listed for this state at this time.

If you suspect online child abuse or possession of child pornography and/or exploitation, you can contact NCMEC’s Cybertipline.

 

Anyone with information about this incident may contact Onslow County Sheriff’s Office at 910-455-3113 or Crime Stoppers at 910-938-3273. Please refer to case 2019007689 when calling.

Crime Stoppers offers cash reward of up to $2,500 for information that is deemed of value or assistance to law enforcement. Information can also be anonymously texted via Text-A-Tip by typing TIP4CSJAX and your message to 274637 (CRIMES). Callers to Crime Stoppers may remain anonymous and never have to reveal their identity.

Second suspect apprehended for murdering a Monroe woman in SC

Man captured in SC on the run, for the murder of a Monroe, NC Mother who was killed in front of her children.

(UNION CO.)- Lucero Sosa Capote was murdered on July 12, 2019 at 1603 Tower Ct. in Monroe, NC. Warrants for the arrests of the two men involved in his death were issued on Wednesday.

Those two men are Byron Blair Watkins and Antwan David Sturdivant. Lucero Capote was murdered in front of her five children.

Warrants of the two men were issued for the Murder of Lucero Sosa Capote and one suspect went on the run. Byron Watkins was captured in Lexington County, SC early Friday morning.

The United States Marshals Service along with Lexington County Sheriff’s Office, Richland County Sheriff’s Office, Orangeburg County Sheriff’s Office, City of Columbia Police Department, and South Carolina Law Enforcement Division all assisted in the search.

Courtesy of Monroe PD: Byron Watkins

Law enforcement has said that Watkins was taken into custody around 1 a.m. by the U.S. Marshals and the Lexington County Sheriff’s Office without incident. 

Watkins is awaiting extradition at the Lexington County Jail. 

Courtesy of Monroe PD: Sturdivant (L) Watkins (R)

Byron Blair Watkins, has been described as a white male, age 25, 5’6” in height, 160LBS has tattoos about his entire body. He has formally been charged with 1st Degree Murder, 1st Degree Burglary, Robbery with a Dangerous Weapon, Possession of a Firearm by a Convicted Felon, Discharge a Firearm in an occupied dwelling, and Assault on a Child under 12.

Antwan David Sturdivant, has been described as a black male, age 19, 5’10” in height, weighs 180LBS and has short dread locs. He has been formally charged with 1st Degree Murder, 1st Degree Burglary, Robbery with a Dangerous Weapon, and Assault on a Female. Sturdivant is already in custody.

Both subjects were considered armed and dangerous prior to their arrests.

Watkins waived his extradition this morning in Lexington County and was picked up by Monroe Police Detectives and brought back to Union County for the service of the warrants.

Chief Gilliard of Monroe PD expressed his appreciation to all of the law enforcement agencies and all the other public safety entities that assisted in capturing Mr. Watkins.

Chief Gilliard stated, “our hearts go out the family of this terrible tragedy. Our detectives worked tirelessly to bring this case to a resolution. We are just so thankful for everyone that assisted us in the case. We hope this offers the family some semblance of peace”.

If anyone has information on either suspects involvement in this crime please contact the Monroe Police Department at 704-282-4700 or the Union County Crime Stoppers at 704-283-5600

Two teens arrested with guns and drugs in Holly Ridge following gunshots being fired

UPDATE: 2:13 PM-

Video footage from a Hampstead resident passing through the area during the time of the suspects being apprehended by Holly Ridge PD on Friday Evening.

Video Courtesy of a Hampstead Citizen passing by the scene: KC Makey


On the Friday evening of July 26, 2019 officers were dispatched to the 200 block of S. Dyson Street in reference to gunshots being fired.

Photo Courtesy of: Trent Taylor
Photo Courtesy of: Trent Taylor
Photo Courtesy of: Trent Taylor

The officers were given a description of the suspect vehicle and they immediately began checking the area. As Corporal Procopio arrived on scene, he saw the vehicle turn back onto S. Dyson Street. The suspect vehicle stopped abruptly and then sped off back onto Highway 50 towards Highway 17. Corporal Procopio was able to catch the vehicle at the nearby intersection and conducting a felony vehicle stop.

The two suspects were taken into custody in a collaborative effort from Surf City Police Department and Pender County Sheriff’s Office.

The suspects were seen throwing a weapon from the vehicle by a witness on Highway 50 who called in and reported it, and that weapon was recovered near Green Street in Holly Ridge. In further investigative analysis, it was determined that this weapon was reported stolen out of Gwinnett County, Georgia.

Continuing the course of the investigation Holly Ridge police department learned that there was a second firearm that had been thrown from the vehicle.

Corporal Peterson and K9 Kayda with Surf City Police were requested and K9 Kayda performed an article search along the route the suspects fled. K9 Kayda was able to locate the second firearm along Highway 50. The suspects also had narcotics in their possession.

Photo Courtesy of HRPD

The suspects were identified as listed below and charged with:

Photo Courtesy of HRPD

Addison Stewart Black, 18-years-old, from 5022 Lord Byron Road, Wilmington, NC

  • Felony Destroy Evidence
  • Carry Concealed Weapon
  • Resist a Public Officer
  • Felony Flee to Elude
  • Speeding to Elude
  • Failure to Stop for Blue Lights
  • Careless & Reckless Driving
  • Stop Sign violation
  • PWIMSD Schedule IV (Alprazolam-Xanax)
  • Manufacture Schedule IV (Alprazolam-Xanax)
  • Possession of Marijuana
Photo Courtesy of HRPD

Noah Zane Cooper, 18-years-old from 3117 Enterprise Drive, Wilmington, NC

  • Felony Destroy Evidence
  • Carry Concealed Weapon
  • Resist a Public Officer
  • Possession of a Stolen Firearm
  • Going Armed to the Terror of the Public
  • Discharge a Firearm Within 500Ft of a Dwelling
  • PWIMSD Schedule IV (Alprazolam-Xanax)
  • Manufacture Schedule IV (Alprazolam-Xanax)
  • Possession of Marijuana

They were each given a $15,000 secured bond. Custody of the two subjects was turned over to the Onslow County Detention Center.


The North Carolina Department of Public Safety database does not reflect any prior convictions for either of the suspects. However, in deeper investigative reporting, It has been discovered that Noah Zane Cooper, was arrested and charged in Mecklenburg county in June 2018 for multiple charges to include: possession of stolen goods, attempted common law robbery, conspiracy, second degree trespass and more per the digital source Mecklenburg Public Records.

Addison Stewart Black shows a prior arrest in 2017 for possession of marijuana in Wilmington via the same digital source Busted Newspaper.

Crime Stoppers offers cash reward of up to $2,500 for information that is deemed of value or assistance to law enforcement. Information can also be anonymously texted via Text-A-Tip by typing TIP4CSJAX and your message to 274637 (CRIMES). Callers to Crime Stoppers may remain anonymous and never have to reveal their identity.

Second woman arrested for child abuse at Childcare Network in Sneads Ferry

Second arrest made in the Childcare Network case in Sneads ferry last month. The daycare is not an operation currently, following this incident.

On June 10, 2019, Onslow County Sheriff’s Office was contacted by the Childcare Network Daycare located in Sneads Ferry, regarding an 11-month-old male child that was in their care. The company reported the child was transported to the hospital earlier in the day regarding a medical emergency but learned later on the child was intentionally injured by a day care worker there. The Onslow County Sheriff’s Office conducted an investigation which determined that the day care worker, Bethan Pringle, was responsible for the child’s injuries. The child’s injuries were from head trauma which resulted when the child was intentionally dropped by the suspect. On June 19, 2019 Bethan Pringle, age 23 was arrested and charged with Felony Child Abuse Inflicting Serious Bodily Injury. She was given a $100,000 secured bond and placed in the custody of the Onslow County Detention Center.

 

The Investigation continued and on July 23, 2019 a second employee was also arrested for injuring the child. This employee, McKayla Paula Sausser, 19-years-old of Gregory Fork Road in Richlands was arrested July 23, 2019 by SVU Detective L. Kensington and charged with Felony Child Abuse Inflicting Serious Bodily Injury.  Sausser had assaulted the infant by repeatedly forcibly pushing the infant’s head down in a crib. Sausser was placed under a $100,000 secured bond by the Magistrate and placed in the custody of the Onslow County Detention Center.  Sausser has a first court appearance on July 24, 2019.    

 

 

As of today, the Childcare Network Daycare in Sneads Ferry is not in operation.

 

 

 

Crime Stoppers offers cash reward of up to $2,500 for information that is deemed of value or assistance to law enforcement. Information can also be anonymously texted via Text-A-Tip by typing TIP4CSJAX and your message to 274637 (CRIMES). Callers to Crime Stoppers may remain anonymous and never have to reveal their identity.

 

 

Two teens arrested for stealing golf carts in Holly Ridge

Two Hampstead teens were arrested in Holly Ridge after stealing two golf carts from a local business.

On Friday, July 19, 2019 Holly Ridge PD received a call from the owner of Holly Ridge Tire regarding golf carts that were stolen from the business.

The owner located the golf carts and the two suspects nearby in the woods on Green Street and Hines Street. HRPD Officers arrived on scene and detained the suspects. Upon reviewing video surveillance from the business, and interviewing the suspects, they were formally charged with the following:

Dovontae McDuffy, 17-years-old, of 508 Rose Point Road, Hampstead, NC

Photo Courtesy of HRPD
  • (2) counts Felony Larceny
  • (2) counts of Trespassing
  • (2) counts of Property Damage
  • Felony Possession of Stolen Property
  • Felony Conspiracy

Micah Howard, 18-years-old, of 498 Williams Store Road, Hampstead, NC

Photo Courtesy of HRPD
  • Felony Larceny
  • Trespasing
  • (2) counts of Property Damage
  • Felony Possession of Stolen Property
  • Felony Conspiracy
  • 4 outstanding Orders For Arrest

McDuffy was given a $15,500 secured bond and Howard was given a $23,500 secured bond. Custody of the two subjects was turned over to the Onslow County Detention Center.

Neither suspect shows any prior criminal charges or convictions in the NC Department of Public Safety (NCDPS) database.

Crime Stoppers offers cash reward of up to $2,500 for information that is deemed of value or assistance to law enforcement. Information can also be anonymously texted via Text-A-Tip by typing TIP4CSJAX and your message to 274637 (CRIMES). Callers to Crime Stoppers may remain anonymous and never have to reveal their identity.

Man arrested for stealing materials from Atlantic Construction site

An Onslow County felon has been arrested and charged with a number of felony charges for theft of materials from a construction site.

 Onslow County Sheriff’s Office said in a news release this morning a Richlands man has been arrested on charges for stealing a construction site throughout the county.

On Wednesday, July 10, 2019, county sheriffs deputies responded to the area of Holly Grove Court in Jacksonville where there was a report of a suspicious vehicle leaving the area hauling a trailer.

This particular area has new homes that are under construction and has had issues with the building materials being stolen.

“Deputies located and stopped the truck in the Speedway gas station parking lot in Richlands.  After identifying the driver as Michael Hancock and upon searching the trailer, several pieces of stolen property were recovered.” said the OCSO release.

In the stolen property discovered during the search, were building materials and other items used in construction.

Detectives’ investigation revealed that Hancock was also involved in larcenies that occurred back in June 2019, on Union Chapel Church Road where appliances were stolen.    

The North Carolina Department of Public Safety database shows that Michael Hancock also has a criminal history of Felony Larceny dating back to 2007 and 2008. He was given suspended sentences and probation for those crimes.

Michael Hancock, 37-years-old of Floyd Pond Lane in Richlands, was taken into custody, transferred to the magistrate’s office and charged with:

  • Felony Larceny From a Construction Site
  • Felony Possession of Stolen Property From a Construction Site
  • (2) Counts Felony Breaking and Entering
  • (2) Counts Felony Larceny
  • (2) Counts Felony Possession of Stolen Property
  • Felony Larceny After Breaking and Entering
  • Felony Obtaining Property by False Pretense

Hancock was transported to the Onslow County Detention Center under an $83,000 secured bond.

This arrest closes several cases where Atlantic Construction was the victim of thefts.

 

Anyone with information about incidences of theft in construction site is asked to contact Onslow County Sheriff’s Office at 910-455-3113, Detective Hipple at 910-989-4040, or Crime Stoppers at 910-938-3273. Please refer to case 2019010123 when calling.

 

Crime Stoppers offers cash reward of up to $2,500 for information that is deemed of value or assistance to law enforcement. Information can also be anonymously texted via Text-A-Tip by typing TIP4CSJAX and your message to 274637 (CRIMES). Callers to Crime Stoppers may remain anonymous and never have to reveal their identity.

Homeless man with a mental illness sentenced to prison on two counts of murder

Willie George, Jr. age 34, pleaded guilty by an Alford Plea in Onslow County Superior Court today for two counts of second-degree murder.

This afternoon  in Onslow County Superior Court, Willie George Jr. age, 34  pleaded guilty by an Alford plea.

Willie George, Jr. admitted to the killings of 17-year-old Khalil Kirkland and 72-year-old Carl Eisert on the cold night of January 3, 2016.

The two victims bodies were found on Gum Branch Road in Jacksonville, NC nearly a half-mile apart on the same night.

George, Jr. pleaded guilty to two counts of second-degree murder. An Alford plea is where a suspect admits no guilt, but agrees there is enough evidence to convict him at trial.

George, Jr. suffers with bi-polar disorder and was not taking his medication during the time of these heinous acts of murder. He was also homeless and battling alcoholism. The court believes that a combination as this is lethal and lead to this terrible outcome.

In an exclusive duo-interview with DA Ernie Lee, he said there was no doubt in evidence and George admitted himself to being guilty in court as well as accepted the plea agreement on that admission of guilt.

DA Ernie Lee said there was no weapon used in the murders, “just his bare hands”, speaking of Willie George, Jr..

There is another case involving a hit and run tied to this case with another individual that is still ongoing. Second-degree murder was the original charge and has remained consistent in that throughout the course of justice through sentencing. DA Lee said there was no proof of intent of malice to try for First-degree murder, the best aligned by definition of the law and evidence founded, was second degree.

As part of the plea deal, George was sentenced to prison in the N.C. Department of Adult Corrections for a minimum of 34 and a maximum of 42 years.

Mental illness, the lack of mental health care and substance abuse was a significant part of conversations today surrounding the trial today.

The defendant and both victims had family in the courtroom for support through the final process of justice.

Footage from today’s trial proceedings:

 


 

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PREVIOUS: The N.C. Fifth Prosecutorial District Attorney Ernie Lee issued a press release this afternoon stating the trial for Willie George, Jr. will begin tomorrow, Tuesday, July 9, 2019 at 2pm in Onslow County Superior Court.

George, Jr. was charged by law enforcement and indicted by the Onslow County Grand Jury with two counts of second degree murder for crimes that occurred on January 3, 2016 on Gum Branch Road in Jacksonville, NC.

The victims are Carl Joseph Eisert, age 72 and Khalil Edwin Kirkland, age 17. George, Jr. was also charged for assault on Gerard Natale in the same time period.

Kirkland was a student at Northside High School and employed at Burger King at the time of his murder.

The defendant is represented by William J. Morgan and the State is represented by District Attorney Ernie Lee and Chief ADA Michael Maultsby.

The case was investigated by the Jacksonville Police Department.

Hubert woman arrested for stabbing a man over marijuana

A woman has been arrested for stabbing a man as a result from an argument.

Tuesday, July 2, 2019, Onslow County Sheriff’s Office uniformed patrol responded to a residence on Saltwater Lane in Hubert for a report that someone had been stabbed.  Upon arrival, deputies learned that the victim had driven himself to the Naval Hospital for medical attention. The victim’s injuries were non-life threatening and he was treated and released from the hospital.    

The investigation revealed that Christena Victora Ingram stabbed the victim during a verbal altercation about a failed marijuana transaction that occurred two weeks ago.  

Ingram, 42-years-old of Great Neck Landing Road in Hubert was taken into custody and transported to the magistrate’s office where she was charged with:

  • Assault With a Deadly Weapon With Intent to Inflict Serious Injury
  • Simple Assault

 

Photo Courtesy of OCSO

 NCDPS database shows Ingram to have been convicted of a Level 4 DWI (Misdemeanor) in 2016. No other prior charges or convictions listed.

Ingram is currently held in the Onslow County Detention Center under a $30,000 secured bond pending her court date.

Anyone with information about this incident may contact Onslow County Sheriff’s Office at 910-455-3113, Detective J. Marshburn at 910-989-4041 or Crime Stoppers at 910-938-3273. Please refer to case 2019009757 when calling.

 

 

Crime Stoppers offers cash reward of up to $2,500 for information that is deemed of value or assistance to law enforcement. Information can also be anonymously texted via Text-A-Tip by typing TIP4CSJAX and your message to 274637 (CRIMES). Callers to Crime Stoppers may remain anonymous and never have to reveal their identity.

 

BUSTED: Sneads Ferry woman hit hard with a number of felony drug charges

Repeat Felon, Carolee Jane Simpson, 28-years-old of Old Folkstone Road, Sneads Ferry, was arrested June 18, 2019 resulting from an investigation by Onslow County Sheriff’s Office Drug Enforcement Unit known as “Operation Royal Takedown.”

On May 22, 2019 investigators with the Onslow County Sheriff’s Office Drug Enforcement Unit investigated the criminal activity of Aryan Kings Gang members in and around the Sneads Ferry Community of Onslow County. Members of the Onslow County Sheriff’s Office Crime Reduction Team 2 executed two traffic stops during this investigation, resulting in the seizure of user quantities of marijuana, heroin, crystal meth and $14,612.00 in US currency. Information developed during the investigation indicated that the source of the suspected narcotics was coming from 1417 Old Folkstone Road. A search warrant was granted to search the premises of 1417 Old Folkstone Road, being the residence of David Craig Milam. During the search of the residence, narcotics investigators located the following items: (3) pistols; (3) rifles:

27.5 grams of heroin; 29.9 grams of crystal methamphetamine; digital scales and glassine bags for re-packaging. One of the pistols was reported stolen from Pender County Licensed Firearms Dealer.

Simpson’s charges include:

  • Felony Trafficking Heroin by Possession
  • Felony Trafficking Heroin by Manufacturing
  • Felony Trafficking Methamphetamine by Possession
  • Felony Trafficking Methamphetamine by Manufacturing
  • Felony PWIMSD Heroin
  • Felony PWIMSD Methamphetamine
  • Felony Manufacturing Heroin
  • Felony Manufacturing Methamphetamine
  • Felony Maintaining a Dwelling
  • Felony Possession of Stolen Firearm
  • Felony Possession of Firearm by a Convicted Felon
  • Felony Conspiracy to Traffick Heroin
  • Misdemeanor Possess Drug Paraphernalia
  • Misdemeanor Possession of Less Than Half-Ounce of Marijuana

Simpson has a number of convictions listed in the NCDPS database.

Simpson was transferred to the Onslow County Detention Center under a $215,000 secured bond.

The following individuals were arrested May 22, 2019 as a result from this investigation: David Craig Milam, Brian Richard Pearce II, Robert Edward Harmer, Anthony David Lynn, Charley Lynn Wiggs.

SEE THAT STORY HERE.

This investigation continues, and more arrests are expected.

Anyone with information about this incident may contact Onslow County Sheriff’s Office at 910-455-3113, Detective, or Crime Stoppers at 910-938-3273. Please refer to case 2019007673 when calling.

Crime Stoppers offers cash reward of up to $2,500 for information that is deemed of value or assistance to law enforcement. Information can also be anonymously texted via Text-A-Tip by typing TIP4CSJAX and your message to 274637 (CRIMES). Callers to Crime Stoppers may remain anonymous and never have to reveal their identity.

Woman charged with a felony abuse of an infant at a Sneads Ferry childcare center

Bethan Pringle, age 23 charged with Felony Child Abuse Inflicting Serious Bodily Injury to an infant child under age 1 at a Sneads Ferry Childcare facility.

There are several daycares in Sneads Ferry with violations reported to the NC DHHS/DCDEE database this year.

(SNEADS FERRY, NC)-

Photo from Childcare Network Website

On June 11, 2019 the Childcare Network parents in Sneads Ferry received a notice informing them of an incident that occurred in their school the day prior where an infant child was injured while in the care of the facility.

The infant child who is under 1-year-old was provided with CPR by caregivers as well as lifesaving techniques for emergency situations. The child’s parents were notified immediately by the center and the teacher involved was suspended without pay at that time, pending an internal investigation as well as by law enforcement.

The incident allegedly was quickly determined not to have been caused by a hazard, lack of security, supervision nor due to inappropriate ratios of caregivers to student at the time of the incident. Some parents were also allegedly informed soon after that the teacher would not be returning to the school based on this incident.

The Onslow Beat reached out to the Childcare Network location on Thursday, June 13th for a statement and they declined to do so with a pending and open investigation.

Col. Chris Thomas at Onslow County Sheriff’s Office said on Monday there was anticipation of closing the case this week. He further assured, “To my knowledge this is the only incident that has been reported to the Sheriff’s Office from that location.” “They have been completely cooperative with the investigation and were the reporting party as well.”

The infant child was transported to Vidant Medical in Greenville from Onslow Memorial Hospital for treatment immediately following and released Thursday of last week. Medical professionals have since advised that the infant is expected to recover.

Today, Onslow County Sheriff’s Office issued a release stating it had been determined that this act was purposeful. The childcare worker, Bethan Pringle, age 23 was the worker who was responsible for the child’s injuries. The infant suffered from head trauma which resulted when the child was intentionally dropped by the suspect.

Pringle was arrested and charged with Felony Child Abuse Inflicting Serious Bodily Injury. She was issued a $100,000 secured bond and placed in the custody of the Onslow County Detention Center.

Childcare Network is a 5-star facility with a superior classification, as well as the newest facility in the area. This facility opened in August 20, 2018 and has swiftly corrected any violations prior to date as required by the Division of Child Development and Early Education (DCDEE) . The most recent inspection from DHHS/DCDEE shows where the facility was rated a 211/235 score and there were no violations despite this tragedy.

There have been two violations during an unannounced visit by the DCDEE to this facility that occurred in 2018 and both swiftly corrected.

Rule Violated: Medications including prescription and non-prescription items were not stored in a locked cabinet or other locked container. Medications in space #9 and space #10 were stored in the cabinet under the diaper changing table; the cabinets were unlocked.

Rule Violated: Caregivers did not document compliance with visually checking on sleeping infants aged 12 months or younger and/or the documents were not maintained for a minimum of one month. In space #9. a visual sleep check was documented at 9:45am. During the classroom observation at 10:30am, the infant was still asleep and no other visual sleep checks had been documented. (12/10/18)-DHHS database

There are limited childcare options in the quaint fishing village of Sneads Ferry.

Another local facility has parents skeptical in the quality of facility standards since a change in ownership leaving some parents feeling grim about care options.

One mother said, “This is why I would rather just stay at home until our baby is older, so I know that he is safe.” in response to this incident. “You cannot trust anywhere anymore.”

The Onslow Beat took a deeper look into local daycare options to see how they compare to Childcare Network in light of standard of care and violations in Sneads Ferry.

Noah’s Ark Preschool: Four (4) violations in March 2019 for broken furniture, poor activity plan and lacking first aid training. Another two (2) in May for administering medication after the expiration date with expired permission form.

Sneads Ferry Quality Care has six violations documented by DHHS/DCDEE just this month from an unannounced visit. Violations range across a variety of lack in training for childcare workers, not having CPR & First Aid certifications and Child Maltreatment Training. Some of these violations are still pending response to the department. One violation:

Rule Violated: New staff, who had contact with children, did not receive at least 16 hrs. orientation within first 6 weeks. Three of the thirty-two staff employed had not completed the required orientation training within the first 6 weeks of employment. -DHHS database.

A Happy Home Daycare in Sneads Ferry that is a licensed home daycare had violations in 2017 for hazardous chemicals like cleaners and pesticides. There were no violations in 2018 on either visit yet there have been violations founded in 2019.

Rule Violated: Hazardous cleaning supplies and other items that might be poisonous were not kept out of reach or in locked storage when children were in care. Three bottles of hand sanitizer were located in the home: One was sitting in the middle of the kitchen table used by the children for lunch routines, a second bottle was located on the cabinet beside the diaper changing table accessible to the children, and a third bottle was located on the corner of the desk adjacent to the children care space accessible to the children. Four aerosol cans were located in the home: One can of Lysol and one can of Resolve were located on a shelf above the diaper changing table and one can of Lysol and one can of Ozium Air Sanitizer was located on a shelf behind the entrance/exit door to the child care space.- DHHS database. (2017) 

Rule Violated: Written record of up-to-date pet vaccinations as required by NC law and local ordinances, including rabies vaccination for dogs and cats, was not available. The vaccination for Cornflake, the cat, expired 12/30/18.

Violation confirmed corrected by letter received from provider on 1/18/2019
Rule Violated: Activity plans did not include activities intended to stimulate the developmental domains, in accordance with NC Foundations for Early Learning and Development. An activity plan was not available.

Violation confirmed corrected by letter received from provider on 1/18/2019
Rule Violated: Operator did not provide a written statement to parents regarding the smoking and tobacco restriction. A signed and dated acknowledgement statement from each parents indicating they had received a copy of the smoking and tobacco restriction.

Violation confirmed corrected by letter received from provider on 1/18/2019
 
To view any additonal childcare facility’s performance and possible violations, visit the NC Division of Child Development and Early Education through NC Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) website.

The Onslow Beat urges parents to do research on every facility in any location before enrolling as well as facilities to ensure training and references prior to hiring.