“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.

Swansboro man charged with an open count of murder

A Swansboro man has been charged with one open count of murder where the victim was discovered dead inside of his home following a 9-11 call that said a murder “possibly occurred”.

A Swansboro man has been arrested, charged with an open account of murder and set to appear in Onslow county court this Tuesday morning.

Onslow County Sheriff’s Office says that on Monday, Sept. 16 a call was received by Onslow Co. Emergency 9-11 Center at 4:50 PM about a “possible murder that occurred” at the 112 June Holland Drive within the unincorporated area of Swansboro.

In a collaborative investigation, Onslow County Sheriff’s deputies and officers from the Swansboro Police Department responded to the scene. On arrival of the two agencies, 49-year-old Robert Ortiz III, who is the known resident and now suspect of 112 June Holland Drive address was located in the front yard of the residence. “As deputies and officers secured the area, a deceased victim was located inside the residence.”

The murder victim was later identified as 61-year-old Kerry Frank Howard of Lot 9 Lilli Circle, which is in the mobile home park next to 112 June Holland Drive. The cause of death is believed to be the result of stab wounds, but the official cause of death is pending an autopsy which will be performed Wednesday.

As deputies investigated further, it was determined that Ortiz had an outstanding warrant for his arrest. The warrant was for a charge of simple assault on another victim, unrelated to this case said Col. Chris Thomas, OCSO. Ortiz was arrested on that charge while detectives continued to investigate.

On completion of the preliminary investigation, Ortiz was charged with one open count of murder and currently being held in the Onslow County Sheriff’s Detention Center without bond. Ortiz is set to appear for his first appearance in court on Tuesday.

The relationship between the two men is not known at this time.

OCSO says the motive of the murder is still under investigation and more details will be released as it becomes available.

 

Anyone with information about this case is asked to contact Onslow County Sheriff’s Office at 910-455-3113 Detective Division, or Crime Stoppers at 910-938-3273. Please refer to case 2019-013534 when calling.


ANONYMOUS REPORTS OF CRIMINAL ACTIVITY CAN BE REPORTED TO ONSLOW COUNTY CRIME STOPPERS AT (910) 938-3273. You can also text your Crime Stoppers Tip via Text-A-Tip by typing TIP4CSJAX and your message to 274637

Official autopsy report reveals that James Pannoni was stabbed and suffered chemical burns

The official autopsy & toxicology reports for James Pannoni age 63 who was murdered and buried in a shallow grave at his home has been released today. Pannoni’s death was a result of multiple stab wounds yet he suffered chemical burns as well as one limb attempted to be severed. The murder
suspect is calendared to be in Onslow Co. court on 9/26 for the brutal murder of James Pannoni.

N.C. Office of the Chief Medical Examiner at Coastal Pathology Associates released the official autopsy report today for James Pannoni who was the victim of a heinous act of violence resulting in murder spring of this year.

In April 2019 Onslow County Sheriff’s Office released information that Mr. James Pannoni age 63, was found deceased, buried in a shallow grave at his residence in Hubert. The named murder suspect, Saundra Evon Wagner was captured and apprehended following a high speed chase in Dothan, AL a few days later.

Pannoni was originally reported missing by his daughter who requested a wellness check from Massachusetts after not speaking with her father since his birthday on March 5, 2019. That is the last definitive date Pannoni was known to be alive.

The shallow grave was discovered by law enforcement the evening of April 8, 2019.

Pannoni had a medical history of heart attack where he had a bypass surgery, an abdominal aortic aneurysm often associated with hypertension, which he also had history of (high blood pressure), high cholesterol, depression, also back pain.

The toxicology report reveals there were no illegal drugs in his system. The report further revealed that Pannoni had alcohol and prescription medications that treat depression in his system at the time of death as well as allergy medication consistent with Benadryl. The Diazepam, commonly known as Valium is a medication reported present in his system is said to treat depression, anxiety and is often known to create a calming effect. The toxicology report states the level of diazepam was at a therapeutic level. Nordazepam, commonly known as Nordaz is a medication indicated present on the toxicology report that is also said to be a sedative that treats anxiety and also acts as a muscle relaxant. There were no findings of opioids/opiates, cocaine or chloroform.

With the previous mentioned factors, it only seems to logic that Mr. Pannoni didn’t have a fighting chance in defending himself against this viscous attack.

In the preliminary report it was known that the victim’s cause of death was believed to be from multiple stab wounds and remains a consistent result in the full report.

The autopsy and toxicology report released Monday afternoon on Sept. 16, 2019 reveals James Pannoni suffered chemical burns down his left side in addition to the stab wounds as well as an attempt at disarticulation of his right arm at his elbow. This means that his right arm was attempted to be severed by what is consistent with a saw mark that exposed the joint of his right elbow completely per the complete autopsy report. Additionally, he suffered multiple abrasions on his face.

The autopsy report states that there was a lesion on the left buttock and extending down the back of his left leg consistent with chemical burn.

His body was covered in sandy like soil with a strong bleach smell present, covered in two shower curtains and a sheet of clear plastic with a brand new flower bed planted atop of the shallow grave at his home.

Pannoni was stabbed four times where his lungs were punctured with a total of 7 wounds listed in the autopsy to include other injuries to his body.

Saundra Evon Wagner, Suspect. Photo Courtesy Of OCSO

Saundra Wagner is calendared to appear in Onslow County court on Sept. 26. for the felony murder of James Pannoni and Jan. 27, 2020 for felony and misdemeanor larceny.

 

JPD is investigating a fatal shooting where victim and suspect have been identified

Jacksonville Felon, Tyquan Skyree Hayes is wanted for the murder of a Willard, NC man, Da’Shaun J. Pearsall (victim) that occurred early this Wednesday Morning.

Jacksonville police department is investigating a fatal shooting that occurred Wednesday morning on Davis Street.

JPD reported that at approximately 7:31AM on Wednesday morning, August 21, 2019 officers were dispatched to a specified location from a report of a shooting on the 1200 block of Davis Street.

The responding officers found a 23-year-old young man flying on the roadway suffering from a gunshot wound. Jacksonville Public Safety first responders immediately began CPR. The Victim was pronounced dead on scene.

The victim’s identity has been confirmed and released by JPD as Da’shaun J. Pearsall of Willard, NC.

img_6954

Victim, Da’Shaun J. Pearsall of Willard, NC (FB PHOTO)

His name was initially withheld pending notification to his family.

The preliminary investigation found that a suspect vehicle fled the area. Officers have been canvassing the area to locate the vehicle and suspect. The suspect remains at large who has however, been named.

Jacksonville Police are looking for 24-year-old Tyquan Sykree Hayes of Jacksonville, NC for Wednesday morning’s murder of 23-year-old Da’shaun J. Pearsall of Willard, NC.

NC Department of Public Services database reports prior felonious criminal history for Tyquan Skyree Hayes as a prior Class G Felon convicted of Common Law Robbery in 2014. Hayes was just released from NC Department of Adult Corrections in February of 2019 on a probation revocation following the initial conviction and serving 2-years in prison. Hayes was arrested by JPD Aug. 1, 2018 and charged with felony manufacturing, selling or delivering a controlled substance within 1,000 feet of a school; felony possession with intent to manufacture, sell or deliver cocaine; felony selling cocaine; and felony delivering cocaine.

img_6955

Suspect, Tyquan Skyree Hayes. 

“The investigation has progressed since this morning.” said Deputy Chief Ashley Weaver. “Detectives have conducted interviews throughout the day. A Search Warrant for a residence near the shooting scene was executed and a search conducted. We have identified a person of interest at this time and are continuing to investigate any and all leads.”

“The victim and suspected shooter were known to each other” said Deputy Chief Weaver. “We appreciate the assistance of the public and ask that anyone who may have been in the Davis Street area and may have seen something to give us or Crime Stoppers a call or text right away.”

The preliminary investigation has found that a suspect vehicle fled the area. Officers have been canvassing the area to locate the vehicle and suspect. The suspect remains at large.

“We are in the preliminary stages of this investigation” said Deputy Chief Ashley Weaver. The name of the victim is withheld pending notification to his family.

This is considered to be an isolated incident with no threat to public safety.

Anyone with information about the shooting is asked to contact Sergeant Shawn Marcinowsky at 910-938-6412 or smarcinowsky@jacksonvillenc.gov or Crime Stoppers at 910-938-3273.

Crime Stoppers offers cash rewards of up to $2,500 for information determined to be of value to law enforcement. Callers to Crime Stoppers are not required to reveal their Identities. Information can also be anonymously texted via Text-A-Tip by typing TIP4CSJAX and your message to 274637. Please refer to case number 19-07964 when calling or texting about this case.

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:

 


 

img_5207

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.

Jacksonville man Terry Barnes pleaded guilty and sentenced to 14-17 years for the 2016 second-degree murder of his live-in girlfriend Tina Meyer

  On May 21, 2019, Terry Gordon Barnes, age 53 years, pled guilty to second degree murder.  The defendant was sentenced by Judge Charles H. Henry of Onslow County to a minimum of 168 months and a maximum of 214 months in the North Carolina Department of Adult Correction.  The State of North Carolina was represented by Assistant District Attorneys Kelly B. Neal and Precious Harrison-Cobb.  The defendant was represented by Attorney Paul Castle of Jacksonville, North Carolina.

    The evidence shows that on September 19, 2016, Onslow County Sheriff’s Deputies were dispatched to Old Maplehurst Road in reference to a shooting. Deputy Mark Hipple responded to the residence and found Tina Marie Meyer unresponsive on the living room floor with an apparent gunshot wound to left chest area.  Deputy Hipple located the defendant, Tina Meyer’s boyfriend of many years, outside the residence in a Ford Explorer and found Addison Riley, Tina Meyer’s step-fahter, inside the residence.  The defendant initially told Deputy Hipple that Mr. Riley had shot Tina Mayer and Mr. Riley indicated that the defendant had been the shooter.  An investigation by the Onslow County Sheriff’s Office would ultimately prove the defendant had shot and killed Tina Meyer.

During closing arguments of the April 2019 trial, ADA Kelly Neal argued the facts of forensics only made sense and that Terry Barnes did in fact kill Tina Meyer. Additionally that a verbal confrontation had transpired between the two of them before the rifle was retrieved. ADA Kelly Stated in his arguments it was impossible for an 81-year-old man who uses a walker to stand and walk to have shot Tina Meyer.

ADA Kelly Neal in closing arguments in the April trial

Defense Attorney Paul Castle argued that it did not make sense and that the man responsible for the death of Tina Meyer was her step-father, Mr. Riley. Castle presented demonstration of what he believed to exemplify the scene of the crime that night in his clients defense.

    Detectives learned that these three individuals had been out drinking that night and upon returning from the Globe and Anchor Bar, the defendant went into Mr. Riley’s bedroom and grabbed a .410 shotgun and returned to the living room.  He pointed the weapon at Tina Meyer and shot her in front of Addison Riley.  At the time of the shooting Mr. Riley was seated on a couch in the living room and Tina Meyer was standing in front of him.  The defendant put the weapon back in Mr. Riley’s bedroom and left the residence to sit in his vehicle.  An autopsy performed by Dr. John Almeida revealed that Tina Meyer had been shot in the left chest area with an entrance wound under her left armpit.  He concluded the wound was a fatal wound and that the shot occurred at a distance of three to five feet away from the victim.  

    The defendant was interviewed by Sheriff’s Office detectives and initially blamed Mr. Riley for the incident.  During the interview he eventually admitted to shooting Tina Meyer.  The defendant indicated the three of them had been out drinking and when they returned Tina Meyer was fussing at him.  He went into the bedroom and grabbed Mr. Riley’s shotgun and came back into the living room.  He pointed the gun at Tina Meyer to prove a point to her, thinking the gun was unloaded.  He cocked the weapon, pointed it at Tina Meyer and pulled the trigger, shooting her.  He demonstrated to detectives how he held the gun when he stood in front of the victim and shot her.  He told detectives he had been drinking and that alcohol played a part in what occurred.

    The case was tried as a first degree murder from April 1, 2019 until April 12, 2019 in Onslow County Superior Court.  The trial ended in a mistrial with the jury deadlocked and unable to reach a unanimous verdict.  

    DA Ernie Lee stated in a press release, “I commend the work done in this case by the Onslow County Sheriff’s Office.  The work done by the detectives and the Crime Scene Investigations Unit that night brought Tina Marie Meyer’s killer to justice.  This case was a senseless tragedy where someone lost their life due to a combination of alcohol and the use of a firearm.  Due to the hard work of the Sheriff’s Office, this defendant will serve a minimum of 168 months behind bars.”

 

 

UPDATE-SUSPECT CAPTURED: Saundra Wagner for the murder of James Pannoni and cause of death released

UPDATE:

On April 9, 2019 Onslow County Sheriff’s Office released information that James Pannoni was found deceased at his residence, 101 Chasity Way in Hubert. Mr. Pannoni was the victim of a homicide and autopsy results concluded that the victims cause of death was a result of being stabbed.

During the late evening hours of April 7, 2019, Onslow County Sheriff’s Office Deputies were requested to conduct a welfare check on James Pannoni, at 101 Chasity Way. The request came from the Truro Police Department in Massachusetts where Pannoni’s daughter, Kellianne had reported her father missing. Deputies responded to the Chasity Lane residence and found no one home, no vehicles in the driveway and nothing appeared to be out of place. Later that evening, a uniform patrol deputy found James Pannoni’s vehicle abandoned near 147 Hubert Blvd with the driver’s side window rolled down and the keys in the ignition. The vehicle, a tan 2000 Toyota Tundra was parked in between two abandoned trailers near the Patriot Place Mobile Home Park.

The investigation quickly identified Saundra Evon Wagner as the primary suspect in this incident. Pannoni and Wagner had been involved in a domestic type relationship in months prior to this incident. Detectives attempted to interview Wagner, but Wagner fled the area before deputies could locate her. Sheriff’s detectives continued to investigate the incident and were able to obtain warrants charging Wagner with one Open Count of Murder in the death of Pannoni.

On April 13, 2019, Sheriff’s deputies received information that Wagner was in Dothan, Alabama at a local shopping center. Deputies contacted Dothan Police and requested their assistance in attempting to locate Wagner. Dothan Police arrived at the location and observed Wagner driving through the parking lot. Officers attempted to stop Wagner, but a short car chase ensued with Wagner wrecking her vehicle and she was apprehended. Wagner was transported to a local medical center with what is now reported from OCSO as non-life-threatening injuries.

Originally, Dothan PD said in a live press conference that live saving measures were given for moderate injuries and the suspect was transported for medical treatment.

Wagner is facing charges in Alabama related to the car chase in addition to being extradited to Onslow County upon her release. A schedule for Wagner’s extradition is pending.

Detectives have established a motive for the crime but this and other details of the investigation will not be released pending the ongoing investigation and the upcoming court proceedings.

In addition to the Onslow County Sheriff’s Office, the Onslow County District Attorney’s Office, North Carolina State Bureau of Investigation and Dothan Police Department assisted with this investigation.

The Sheriff’s Office is still asking anyone with knowledge of Mr. Pannoni’s association with Wagner to contact the Sheriff’s Office Detective Division.

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.


PREVIOUS:

Based on a citizen’s tip Saundra Evon Wagner has been arrested by the Dothan PD in Dothan, Alabama.

Wagner was arrested after a brief car chase which ended in her wrecking her vehicle. She is currently under watch in the hospital within that jurisdiction.

Dothan Police Department released the following information:

“The Dothan Police Department was involved in a vehicle pursuit of a suspected homicide suspect out of North Carolina who arrived in our city in a stolen vehicle. While investigating this information police located the vehicle and attempted to complete a traffic stop however the driver fled.

The pursuit traveled around Ross Clark Circle to Montgomery Highway where the suspect turned onto Cherokee Avenue, lost control and crashed into a tree sustaining critical injuries. Police on scene rendered first aid until Medics arrived and transported the driver to a local hospital. No other occupants were in the vehicle nor were any other motorists hurt.

Public Safety was our top priority today not only taking this person into custody but also in considering the motorists on the roadway. Police were actively responding to intersections ahead of the pursuit to stop motorists from encountering the oncoming danger.

The Dothan Police Department would like to say thank you to all motorists who cooperated with these emergency stops. We would also like to thank Houston County SO for assisting us. As always a special thanks to our officers that disregarded their own safety to ensure the safety of others throughout this incident.”

Additional details will be released from law enforcement when they are available.

Thanks to one of our most credible and reputable sources, What more do we know about Saundra Wagner?

She has lived in Virginia Beach, Willow Spring, NC and Swansboro, NC. Saundra also answers to Sandra E Wagner, Saundra E Mook, Saundra E. Quade, Saundra E. Wagner, Saundra Evon Wagner, and perhaps a few additional names.

Wagner was convicted of felonious larceny under the name Quade in Onslow County in 1992 per the NCDPS website.

Ricky Stokes News in Dothan, AL live stream with Dothan PD, Lt. Rachel David, in a press conference following the crash where it is said the suspects injuries are considered critical in the preliminary evaluation on scene:

Ricky Stokes News live on the scene of the crash:


Continue reading “UPDATE-SUSPECT CAPTURED: Saundra Wagner for the murder of James Pannoni and cause of death released”

UPDATE: OCSO is underway with a homicide investigation seeking the public’s help

OCSO is underway with a homicide investigation and seeking the public’s help building a timeline leading up to the death of Mr. James Pannoni. Pannoni, who was found dead this week after being reported missing by his daughter from Massachusetts when she was unable to reach her father since his birthday last month.

Anyone with information about Pannoni is asked to call the Sheriff’s Office at 910-455-3113 or Crime Stoppers at 910-938-3273.

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.

Onslow County Sheriff Hans Miller conducted a press conference today issuing an update on the homicide investigation of Mr. James Pannoni who was found dead in his home earlier this week. No additional detailed information is available for release at this time regarding the investigation, otherwise, they are awaiting the results of the autopsy and cause of death.

Mr. James Pannoni

The Sheriff’s Office is asking for the public’s assistance in establishing a timeline of Mr. Pannoni’s whereabouts and activity from March 31, 2019, through April 8, 2019. He drove a 2000 Toyota Tundra 4-door truck, NC registration 89S3DV, dark gray in color. (Pictured Below)

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

If you or someone you know has noticed Mr. Pannoni driving or any activity observed around his residence at 101 Chasity Way, Hubert, please contact the Onslow County Sheriff’s Office. OCSO is also looking for any known associates of Mr. Pannoni, including friends and casual acquaintances.

Watch the press conference live stream with our county newspaper JD News reporting:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Missing Hubert man found dead and being investigated as a homicide

After conducting a welfare check and preliminary investigation, a missing Hubert man was found dead in his home. His death is being investigated as a homicide and is believed to be an isolated incident with no ongoing threat to the community. Anyone with information about Mr. Pannoni’s death is urged to contact OCSO at 910-455-3113 or Crime Stoppers at 910-938-3273. Crime Stoppers offers a cash reward up to $2,500 for info that is deemed valuable and assists LE in the investigation.

On Sunday, April 7, 2019, around 9:30PM, Onslow County Sheriff’s Office Deputies were requested to conduct a welfare check on Mr. James Pannoni, at 101 Chasity Way. The request came from the Truro Police Department in Massachusetts where Pannoni’s daughter, Kellianne had reported her father missing.

Mr. Pannoni’s niece, Victoria Levin also took to FB in search of her uncle:

 

 

Deputies reported that they responded to the Chasity Way residence and found no one home and nothing appeared to be out of place. Later that evening, a uniform patrol deputy found James Pannoni’s vehicle abandoned near 147 Hubert Blvd. with the driver’s side window rolled down and the keys in the ignition. The vehicle, a tan 2000 Toyota Tundra was parked in between two abandoned trailers near the Patriot Place Mobile Home Park.

The preliminary investigation indicated that Pannoni had not been seen in approximately a week and his daughter had not heard from him since his birthday in March.

Monday, April 8, 2019, Onslow Co. Sheriff’s Office Detectives and Crime Scene Investigators served a search warrant on Pannoni’s residence at 101 Chasity Way, Hubert. Pannoni was discovered deceased during the search of the home.

Pannoni’s death is being investigated as a homicide. This investigation is ongoing and additional details will be released as they become available.

People who know Mr. Pannoni have taken to social media speaking highly of his character and generous spirit.

This incident appears to be isolated with no ongoing threat to the community. Anyone with information about Pannoni is asked to call the Sheriff’s Office at 910-455-3113 or Crime Stoppers at 910-938-3273.

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.

Allen County coroner released case “facts” in matters of Taemon Blair

Allen County Sheriff’s Office released a 4-page report this week after Taemon Blair’s story “broke the internet” by going viral. Blair’s tragic and mysterious death at what was believed to be a positive time in his life leaves his family uneasy and wanting an investigation further into his death. Allen Co. authorities have ruled Blair’s death a suicide by hanging and the internet says it was a lynching. In many posts it has been alleged that Blair’s hands were bound, authorities confirmed that to be false. Much of the black community believes that black people do not commit suicide by hangings due to the history of our ancestors being lynched. Whereas, statistical data shows that black americans have in fact chosen this method in the past. However, the method utilized and often the cause of suicide is usually tied to cultural, religious and family beliefs or matters per The National Center for Biotechnology Information.

If you or someone you know are experiencing suicidal thoughts, please reach out to someone or call the National Suicide Hotline: 1-800-273-8255. #TaemonBlair #MysteryOfTaemonBlair

Taemon Blair was found March 14th in a semi cab truck that he operated, parked in the 9100 block of Bluffton Rd unresponsive. The death of the 21-year-old man who was reportedly found hanged in the sleeper portion of his tractor-trailer truck cabin in Fort Wayne, IN. The reports of his death have gone viral nationally across social media posts. The following week, the Allen Co. Coroner’s Office, on March 21st, said the 21-year-old, a Huntersville, North Carolina native, had died of asphyxia due to hanging and the death ruled a suicide.

Social media posts suggest that Blair did not die by suicide, yet that he was “lynched”. There is the implication by many of these social media posts that “black men do not hang themselves…” because of the historical context tied to hangings it is believed in the “black community” that black Americans do not suicide by hangings. The The National Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI) statistical data reports, “Between 2000 and 2010, suicide by hanging/suffocation rose by 104% (i.e., more than doubled) for those aged 45–59 years and increased steadily in all other age groups except those aged ≥70 years (Table 1), for whom there was a small decline.”-(NCBI)

Hanging/suffocation is almost as lethal as firearm use as a means of suicide. The lack of an increase in case fatality rates indicates that the increase in mortality rates from suicide by hanging/suffocation is related to an increase in suicide attempts by this method. The dramatic increase in suicide by hanging in the U.S. is of special concern because of the widespread availability of rope and other accessories used in hanging. Prevention strategies that are effective within inpatient settings should be given greater attention for their potential to reduce suicide in other settings as well. Such strategies include installing break-away closet bars, lowering the height of anchor points, and increasing the awareness of risk indicators. –(NCBI, 2013)

The American Suicide Prevention Foundation (ASFP) reports,  “In 2017, the highest U.S. age-adjusted suicide rate was among Whites (15.85) and the second highest rate was among American Indians and Alaska Natives (13.42). Much lower and roughly similar rates were found among Black or African Americans (6.61) and Asians and Pacific Islanders (6.59).

In 2017, firearms were the most common method of death by suicide, accounting for a little more than half (50.57%) of all suicide deaths. The next most common methods were suffocation (including hangings) at 27.72% and poisoning at 13.89%.”

Some posts have even gone as far as to say that he was beaten and hanged with his hands bound up but Allen County authorities have reported that as false.

This young man’s tragic end has gone as far to gain interest amongst popular celebrity artists like Clifford Harris Jr. aka T.I ., Big Boi, and Usher Raymonds.

On Thursday, the Allen County Coroner’s Office released a 4-page report in attempts to correct “inaccurate information being spread across social media.” The Onslow Beat has a general standard that follows the same guidelines as most MSM organizations and refrains from publishing articles with suicides with the exceptions of public places, government officials and public figures but in this case, due to the viral nature and the four-page report released, an exception has also been made in this case.

Taemon-Blair Coroner release

Taemon’s brother, Dee Smith,  started a GoFundMe campaign to raise funds for the burial. On the GFM, he stated,

“Taemon went through a rough patch in his life. He went to jail for a year. When he got out he promised to change his life. He went and got his diploma. He had straight A’s in HS. He has always been on the A honor roll.  My brother finally got his life on track! He has a beautiful girlfriend. He also was having a baby.  He landed a job driving 18 wheeler trucks. He went on the road to make money for his family. Now graduated with straight A’s, and a really good job, he was on the track of becoming a great man.”

Allen County Sheriff’s Office reported to Abby Jackson, no foul play suspected.

Smith full of pain and grief for his younger brother, told Fox46, “…there’s just a lot of unanswered questions for them to rule it a suicide…”  Watch that clip here.

If you or someone you know is experiencing suicidal thoughts, there’s help for you, your life is valuable and most hardships are only temporary that there are solutions for. Don’t take a permanent measure to a temporary situation. Please call the National Suicide Hotline or utilize the online chat option and talk to someone, completely confidential.

Call 1-800-273-8255
Available 24 hours every day. 

 

Another article related to suicide and the black community worth the read: https://afro.com/suicide-not-just-white-thing/

 


Disclaimer: The Onslow Beat has a mission of providing information that may be beneficial in the prevention of suicides, mental health & wellness with this particular article regardless of what speculations, assumptions are made in this particular case. This is not an endorsement of stating in agreement or disagreement that Blair committed suicide but it is an acknowledgment that nonetheless, suicide is a real issue in the black community, as well as depression, PTSD and the Black Male. Many individuals in the black community are often forced to suppress feelings verses expressing them, discouraged from crying, discouraged from stating or feeling fear or merely saying, “I am not okay.” The Black community oftentimes shuns the idea of mental health and mental illness has been “taboo” and “a white thing” when in fact it is a human thing, there’s no discrimination in matters of mental illness and there should not be any in light of mental health and wellness. The Onslow Beat further has a moral and ethical responsibility to the public to provide the facts presented from authorities, statements from family or those relevant to the case, as well as provide unbiased and informative information to create betterment in our society as a whole through an independent press. The Onslow Beat wants the audience to read and think for yourself, not be swayed and programmed. That is the beauty of an independent FREE press. 

Identity of a woman in a cold case has been confirmed by JPD

COLD CASE INVESTIGATION- (Jacksonville, NC)

Identity of woman in 1995 cold case investigation has been confirmed and released on Feb. 26, 2019 by JPD.

On December 6th, 1995, a surveyor attempting to locate marking stakes located a complete set of skeletal remains in the wooded area adjacent to Courts Plus on US Highway 17, in Jacksonville, NC. Because of the condition of the body, investigators were unable to determine how long the body had been exposed to the elements and no cause of death could be assessed. The case became part of the Jacksonville Police Department’s Cold Case Investigations for the last 23 years.

For over two decades, JPD Investigators continued to seek the identity of Jane Doe. Due to advances in science and technology, her identity has been determined through a national DNA database for missing persons’ cases. (NAMUS). She has been positively identified through DNA as Randi Stacey Boothe-Wilson.

 

Ms. Boothe-Wilson spent 13 years as an active duty Marine and was discharged in August of 1994. At that time, she separated from her Marine husband and moved to New York with her three children. She was working and living with family there at the time she was reported missing. Her remains were found here in Jacksonville in early December 1995.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

“We would like to thank the JPD detectives who worked this case over 23 years, seeking resolution, never giving up” said Police Chief Mike Yaniero. The assistance of Naval Criminal Investigative Services, Carolinas Field Office was a key element in moving towards identifying the remains of Ms. Boothe-Wilson. We thank them for their partnership, as well as the support and assistance of the NC Office of the Chief Medical Examiner.

Although she has been positively identified, the investigation is ongoing. “Perhaps there is someone in the Jacksonville or the military community that knew Stacey Boothe-Wilson or have some information about her ties to Jacksonville. Even the smallest bit of information may be of value to the detectives working on this case.” said Chief Yaniero.

Anyone with information about Stacey Boothe-Wilson is asked to contact JPD Detective Bob Garbett at 910-938-6520 rgarbett@jacksonvillenc.gov or Crime Stoppers at 910-938-3273. Crime Stoppers offers cash rewards of up to $2,500 for information determined to be of value to law enforcement. Callers to Crime Stoppers are not required to reveal their identities. Information can also be anonymously texted via Text-A-Tip by typing TIP4CSJAX and your message to 274637 (CRIMES)

Driver in the Bingo Hall Murder back in court Tuesday morning for two cases

James Williamson will be in Onslow Superior Court at 9:30 a.m. on Tuesday, April 30, 2019.
He was tried for 2 ½ weeks December 4-17, 2018 for the attempted robbery and murder of Kim Flournoy at TNT Bingo that occurred December 30, 2012. He was also tried at the same time for robbery of Lori Cannon of Tarheel Taxi that occurred on December 28, 2012. The jury deliberated for 2 days and deadlocked 9-3.

UPDATE: District Attorney Ernie Lee said Monday, James Williamson will be in Onslow Superior Court at 9:30 a.m. on Tuesday, April 30, 2019.

He was tried for 2 ½ weeks December 4-17, 2018 for the attempted robbery and murder of Kim Flournoy at TNT Bingo that occurred December 30, 2012. He was also tried at the same time for robbery of Lori Cannon of Tarheel Taxi that occurred on December 28, 2012.  The jury deliberated for 2 days and deadlocked 9-3. The evidence showed Williamson was the driver in both cases.

A mistrial was declared by the presiding judge on December 17, 2018.  The State was represented by DA Ernie Lee and Chief ADA Michael Maultsby.

The Onslow County Grand Jury returned indictments in Williamson’s case on April 2, 2019, for accessory after the fact to 1st-degree murder in the Flournoy case and accessory after the fact to robbery with a dangerous weapon in the Cannon case.

Co-defendant Larry Forrest pled guilty to 2nd-degree murder, attempted robbery with a dangerous weapon, and robbery with a dangerous weapon on November 15, 2017, and received a minimum of 35.6 years and maximum of 45.8 years.  Larry Forrest shot the victim Kim Flournoy and used a gun in the robbery of Lori Cannon.

Williamson is set to be in court at 9:30 a.m. on Tuesday, April 30, 2019.

Continue reading “Driver in the Bingo Hall Murder back in court Tuesday morning for two cases”

Murder Mayhem Series Vol.1 No.3 Second man goes to trial in 2012 Bingo Hall Murder

UPDATE:

Jurors selected to determine the fate of James Edward Williamson told The Honorable Superior Court Judge R. Kent Harrell, they have been unable to come to a unanimous verdict surrounding the suspect that is charged with second-degree murder in the violent death of Kim Flournoy in 2012.

District attorney Ernest Lee rendered closing arguments this morning reminding the jury that Williamson and his friend had planned to rob Kim Flournoy because they knew she had at least $100 cash in her purse.

During trial this week Williamson’s consistently delinquent financial history was exposed for the jury and submitted into evidence. Today the jury requested to review all bank statements again as well as video footage from outside of the TNT Bingo Hall on the night Flournoy was slain in the robbery.

The state said Williamson drove the getaway car after his friend Larry Forrest attempted to rob Flournoy and then shot her.

The jury has been sent home for the weekend and ordered to return Monday by the judge.

This case has been in the hands of the jury since early this Friday morning after a 10 day trial.


PREVIOUS:

After almost six years, the second man involved in the brutal murder of Kim Flournoy of Jacksonville, NC goes to trial this week in Onslow County Superior Court. Kim Flournoy, age 65 was robbed and killed as she entered the T-N-T Beach Bingo hall in Jacksonville with over $500 cash in her purse on December 30, 2012. Police reports told that Larry Forrest shot the 65 year-old woman in the face, through the eye while the second man, James Williamson drove the getaway car that was rented from Albert Ellis Airport.

The triggerman in this murder, Larry Forrest, then age 21, admitted to shooting Flournoy and was sentenced to 35 years last November after accepting a plea deal that spared his life facing the death penalty for capital murder. Forrest pleaded guilty to second degree murder, attempted robbery with a dangerous weapon and robbery with a dangerous weapon.

Larry Forrest

Forrest was a U.S. Marine and a PFC (private first class) and an ammunition technician for the 2nd Supply Btn Combat Logistics Regiment 25 at the time of his arrest on April 16, 2013.

James Edward Williamson, then age 22, was charged with an open count of murder, attempted robbery with a dangerous weapon and conspiracy to commit robbery with a dangerous weapon. Williamson was also a Corporal as an active duty Marine at the time of the murder.  Williamson’s trial will begin tomorrow.

James Williamson

Earlier reports alleged the involvement of additional parties in this horrific and senseless act of gun violence where the gunman left in a 4-door white Dodge Avenger with “several” people inside of the vehicle.

Mrs. Flournoy was a widowed wife of a retired Marine, mother, grandmother and employed aboard Camp Lejeune Marine Corps Base in Jacksonville, NC. More than $20,000 was raised towards reward money for information on who was responsible for her death. Flournoy had just turned 65 years-old two days before she was killed outside of the T-N-T Beach Bingo off of Henderson Dr. in Jacksonville.

State prosecutors in this case are DA Ernie Lee and Senior ADA Mike Maultsby.

Teen defendants in the murder case of a former Onslow County deputy William Clifton set for trial

Grand jury indictments were issued by the Onslow County Prosecuting Attorney Jamie B. Askins on October 9, 2018 for defendants Caitlyn Ridgeway and William Welch.

Caitlyn Ridgeway was brought into Onslow County Superior Court on Tuesday, October 23, 2018 at the 2pm session in the first degree murder of former Onslow County Deputy William Clifton. The death penalty will not be sought in the non-capital murder case. Trial is set for January 2019. Ridgeway is represented by Attorney Paul Castle of Jacksonville, NC.

DA Askins specifically asked, while looking briefly into the audience, for the court to protect the records in this case as there has been sensitive information leaked out to the public. Particular information being publicized in such a preliminary stage of a high profile case as this can potentially taint the jury pool and the prosecution plans to proceed in true justice on all cases with fair trial proceedings. Additionally, such information tied to the emotional impact of the victims family members creates additional emotional stress and rehashes grief in the loss of their loved one.

Ridgeway will not be facing the death penalty and pleaded not guilty in the murder of William Clifton.

Family members of Ridgeway and Clifton were present in court on behalf of their family members.

Today, the Rule 24 hearing for Will Welch took place in the 2pm session of Onslow County Superior Court for three charges:

  1. Murder
  2. Conspiracy
  3. Robbery with a dangerous weapon.

Welch’s attorney, Jake McMahon is from PA whose expertise is in high profile, homicide, federal and appeal cases with 40 years of experience and sponsored by Jacksonville, NC attorney Christopher J. Welch.

McMahon entered a not guilty plea for William (Will) Welch on all charges.

The family of Welch sat in support of the defendant during the hearing today.

Trial is set for January 2019 in the matter of defendant Will Welch as well.

Triggerman sentenced in 2014 murder of Elmer Hudler today

In July of this year, The Onslow Beat began covering the tragic and senseless murder of Mr. Elmer Hudler, a man well loved by his community and family in  Murder Mayhem Series (Vol 1. No. 2).

On April 21, 2014, Elmer Lee Hudler was shot three times in the head with a .25 cal pistol, in his bed, in his home nearby Dixon High School in the Holly Ridge, NC area bordering Sneads Ferry. His son Josh Hudler hired William Zach Parker to kill his father for $250,000 in life insurance money where there was a deal for Josh to pay William (Zach) a weekly amount of $1,000 into an untraceable account to carry out this deadly plan. Parker was allegedly not aware that the target was Hudler’s father until nearing the scene of the home.

In an official press release from Distict Attorney Ernie Lee today,

Zachary Parker was sentenced today in Onslow Superior Court for his role in the murder of Elmer Hudler, age 60 that occurred on April 21, 2014, in Sneads Ferry, North Carolina. Parker pled guilty to the B1 felony of second-degree murder on November 29, 2016, and agreed to testify against Joshua Hudler, the son of Elmer Hudler.

On November 29, 2016, Joshua Hudler was charged with an open count of murder of Elmer Hudler. On October 3, 2018, Joshua Hudler entered a plea guilty in Onslow Superior Court to the B1 felony of second-degree murder of Elmer Hudler and he was sentenced to a minimum of 254 months and a maximum of 317 months in the North Carolina Department of Adult Correction.

On October 23, 2018, Parker was sentenced to a minimum of 300 months and a maximum of 372 months in the North Carolina Department of Adult Correction.
The State was represented by District Attorney Ernie Lee and Chief Assistant District
Attorney Michael Maultsby. Parker was represented by Edward G. Bailey of Jacksonville and William Gerrans of Kinston. The presiding judge was Judge Charles H. Henry of Onslow County.

The evidence showed that on April 21, 2014, Elmer Hudler was found unresponsive in his residence in Sneads Ferry. The autopsy showed that Hudler had been shot three times in the head with a .25 caliber pistol. The Onslow County Sheriff’s Office investigated this homicide.

On April 23, 20145, the spouse of Zachary Parker went to the Sheriff’s Office indicating Zachary Parker told her that he was involved in the homicide and that Joshua Hudler agreed to pay him to kill someone. Zachary Parker told her he shot the victim as Joshua Hudler was nearby inside the residence. On April 23, 2018, Zachary Parker was interviewed by the Sheriff’s Office and admitted that Joshua Hudler asked him to kill someone in exchange for money but he did not know who it was. It was not until they arrived at Elmer Hudler’s house that he realized Hudler wanted his father killed for his insurance proceeds. Zachary Parker told law enforcement that Josh threatened to harm him or his family if he did not do it. Zachary Parker admitted to shooting Elmer Hudler. Prior to shooting Hudler, both had used heroin. Zachary Parker said that after the shooting, he used five or six bags of heroin. Joshua Hudler denied to law enforcement his involvement in the homicide.

In order to obtain sufficient evidence against Joshua Hudler, the State made an agreement with Zachary Parker to testify against Joshua Hudler. Zachary Parker entered a plea of guilty to second-degree murder with an agreed upon sentence of a minimum of 300 months (25 years) and a maximum of 372 months (31 years) active time. As the shooter, the State advocated that he receive a substantial active sentence. The siblings of Elmer Hudler voiced their support for the guilty pleas of Zachary Parker and Joshua Hudler.

This was a senseless murder based in part on heroin addiction. Elmer Hudler had attempted to help his son with his addiction but Joshua was unable or unwilling to end his addiction. Eventually, Joshua Hudler’s addiction and desire for his father’s insurance proceeds led to the senseless murder of Elmer Hudler. As a result, several families have had to deal with this tragedy and crime.