McGarry sentenced on second-degree murder

Joey McGarry, age 45 was sentenced to serve a period of incarceration in the N.C. Department of Adult Corrections for a minimum of 22-years and a maximum of 27-years for the second-degree murder of his girlfriend Maria Snook in 2016.

Joey McGarry, age 45 was sentenced Thursday morning to serve a minimum of 22 years and a maximum of 27 years in the N.C. Department of Adult Corrections in Onslow County Superior Court for the August 2016 second-degree murder of his girlfriend Maria Snook on Dawson Cabin Rd. Snook was 33-years-old at the time of the fatal shooting.

McGarry shot Snook in a domestic dispute. At the time in 2016, both the defendant and the victim had multiple charges pending in court for misdemeanor drug related crimes.

McGarry was represented by long-time Defense Attorney, Walter Paramore of Jacksonville.

Assistant District Attorney Kelly Neal, State Prosecutor in the case said domestic relationships are now ending badly and are getting worse. “They’re ending stupidly as well,” Neal said.



Paramore told the court that McGarry has suffered with mental illness, attempts of self harm, extreme depression and he is not competent enough to go through a full trial due to substantial memory loss. McGarry physical issues along with mental illness, he has vision deterioration in his left eye as well as dealing with hypertension which is age appropriate for the defendant Paramore said.

Paramore said he suggests Joey, “get into the safest place to be evaluated.” He added that he believes based on expert investigative information that McGarry suffers memory loss from excessive alcohol abuse.

The biggest heartbreak is being away from family and also his son, his client Joey McGarry has had very little contact with family so there’s no support, Paramore said. McGarry’s son is about 10-years-old residing with his mother, McGarry’s ex-wife in Connecticut, Paramore said. “I respect his illness and understand he needs treatment, he has physical issues and needs help,” Paramore told the court. The defense attorney continued explanation that he was uncertain that Onslow County Sheriff’s Office Detention Center is equipped to handle the needs of his client in his condition.

Paramore said McGarry has a documented history of mental illness that goes back to when his client resided in Connecticut prior to the murder of Maria Snook.

The Honorable Judge Charles H. Henry ordered substance abuse counseling and treatment as a part of the sentencing as well as a full mental health evaluation and treatment. Additionally, Judge Henry ordered close observation of the defendant.

McGarry was given credit for time served in the Onslow County Sheriff’s Office Detention Center.

The defendant was sentenced on an Alford Plea which is a method often used in the state of N.C. in cases as this where the client acknowledges the evidence presented by the state is sufficient enough to support a conviction, yet the defendant has given no admission of guilt but agrees to be treated as guilty.

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:




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.

DIX Crisis Center is holding on-site interviews and job fair today and tomorrow after last weeks ceremony

This past Friday, a monumental shift of opportunities opened when the DIX Crisis Intervention Center doors opened the 16-bed facility for the public to tour the facility as well as a beautiful ribbon cutting ceremony with many of our local, regional and state leaders present.


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Photographs by Bonnie Roman/The Onslow Beat


With one in four adults and 10% of children in the US estimated to suffer from a mental health crisis this year. The WHO (World Health Organization) suggests that mental disorders are far more common than common diseases like cancer and heart disease.

A 2013 report from the federal Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration reported that 9.6M adults have serious mental health illnesses. These major mental health issues include but are not limited to major depression, schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, OCD (Obsessive Compulsive Disorder), panic disorder, PTSD (Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder) and borderline personality disorder. A combination of treatment is typically required to help lead citizens to a healthier mental state and lifestyle which may require in-patient treatment whether short-term or long-term. Additionally, mental health treatment plans generally require medication(s), therapy and peer support participation.

The DIX Crisis Intervention Center is an innovative alternative, cultivating a more dynamic care option that eliminates strain on our counties first responders, law enforcement and paramedics overall with the “No Wrong Door” policy. Whereas in the past, those in a mental health crisis would be transported to the nearest Emergency Department for drop-offs and law enforcement would be required to remain with the person until the admission process was completed which could be hours. During those hours, there are fewer officers patrolling the streets and responding to calls of crime and violence. If a person is in need of care and exhibits symptoms of substance abuse and/or mental illness, and is not in an urgent need of medical intervention, First Responders can take them directly to the DIX center and by-pass the lengthy admission process of emergency room care. The average stay is 1-4 days with medication, group therapy and individual services including peer support.

The Onslow Beat reached out to two mothers the county has witnessed fight back against addiction, support mental health and recovery options for both issues and on the ground advocating through an organization known as Sneads Ferry’s H.O.P.E (Heroin.Opiate.Prevention.Education), Mrs. Vanessa Sapp and Mrs. Cindy Patane. Patane was on a cruise and unable to respond for an interview. Sapp and Patane both lost their sons to overdose in 2016.  Digital Reporter, Melissa Oakley asked Sapp, “How do you feel about the DIX center opening in our county?” Sapp responded, “Losing Wes continues to be the most difficult experience of my life. Almost immediately, I knew something needed to be done to prevent other parents from such a tragedy. And that is why, along with Cindy Patane, I stood up and spoke out… and three years later, we continue this fight! Our boys did not die in vain, this detox/crisis center is just one of many confirmations. I am so very grateful to all those who joined the fight to make a difference! There is no doubt that this detox/crisis center is needed in our community! Literally, this morning, as the ribbon cutting was underway, I was helping connect a person in need of services outside our county, because there was not a local option. When a person reaches out for help, that person needs help right then and there; not later in the afternoon, not tomorrow… NOW! A crisis center will increase access to treatment for the “now” need! While this is a great first step, 3-7 days only provides a pause and a window of opportunity to make the next connection. We must immediately start working on the next step, long term treatment options, to include both intense outpatient treatment and inpatient treatment. Keep fighting! Together, we can and will save more lives!” -Vanessa Sapp

Sapp has also been vocal about how mental health and substance abuse oftentimes go hand in hand in the past. Her son Wes had begun to struggle with anxiety and insomnia, began treatment for those issues and soon after experimenting with marijuana and abusing the prescription medication began. Vanessa and her husband Jason Sapp are advocates through North Carolina Parents Coalition for C.H.A.N.G.E and you can read more of Wes’s story on the site as well as how to volunteer and obtain support.

If you or someone you know is experiencing a mental health issue, the center is better equipped to address the needs than the emergency room since the focus of the center is solely on the mental health and substance abuse detox and recovery. Mental Health providers are able to better address concerns more quickly, and the basic needs will be attended to in an environment that is conducive to safety and comfort for those suffering a mental health and/or substance abuse crisis.

Mental health and substance use disorders affect people from all walks of life and all age groups. These illnesses are common, recurrent, and often serious, but they are treatable and many people do recover. Mental disorders involve changes in thinking, mood, and/or behavior. These disorders can affect how we relate to others and make choices. Reaching a level that can be formally diagnosed often depends on a reduction in a person’s ability to function as a result of the disorder. For example:

  • Serious mental illness is defined by someone over 18 having (within the past year) a diagnosable mental, behavior, or emotional disorder that causes serious functional impairment that substantially interferes with or limits one or more major life activities.
  • For people under the age of 18, the term “Serious Emotional Disturbance” refers to a diagnosable mental, behavioral, or emotional disorder in the past year, which resulted in functional impairment that substantially interferes with or limits the child’s role or functioning in family, school, or community activities.
  • Substance use disorders occur when the recurrent use of alcohol and/or drugs causes clinically significant impairment, including health problems, disability, and failure to meet major responsibilities at work, school, or home. –SAMHSA


DIX Crisis Intervention Center will be conducting open interviews today and tomorrow, Feb. 20th & 21st, 2019 at the Jacksonville, NC facility to fill multiple OPEN positions. There are morning sessions from 9am-12pm and afternoon sessions from 1pm-4pm on both days, Wednesday and Thursday. They are looking to hire candidates on the spot. You can also fill out applications online and view job descriptions at

Positions available:

  • Registered Nurses
  • LPNs
  • Registered Nurse Manager
  • Shift SupervisorsPeer Support Specialists
  • Peer Support Specialists
  • Discharge Coordinator
  • Milieu Specialists

RI Crisis Health Recovery Consultants offers an excellent benefits package including medical, dental, group life, employee matched 401k, paid holidays, and PTO program. You can reach the human resources department for any questions at phone number: 602-636-4463