“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.

UPDATE: OCSO seeks help identifying a man in a vehicle break in with new photo obtained

OCSO is asking the public’s help in identifying a man who was caught on camera breaking into a vehicle at a Circle K Monday night.

UPDATE: (10/28 Release) Onslow County Sheriff’s Office has received an additional photo of the man suspected of breaking into vehicles at Circle K, Hwy 258 and NC53 last week.

Photo Courtesy of OCSO

If you know the individual photographed above, please contact Detective Watkins at 910-989-4060.

PREVIOUS: Onslow Co. Sheriff’s Office is seeking the public’s assistance in identifying a man who is wanted for questioning after being caught on video surveillance footage actively in a vehicle break-in.

Monday, Oct. 21, 2019, OCSO deputies responded to a call reporting a vehicle break-in at the new Circle K on HWY-258 at the NC-53. The store clerk at the time received notice from a customer there was a vehicle that had its window smashed out that was parked in the rear parking lot. Ironically enough for the clerk, the vehicle belonged to the clerk.


Store video surveillance captured the photos above of a black male exiting a compact black vehicle that is comparable to a Mazda 6 or a Mazda 3 Sedan and break into the victim’s vehicle. The male, as seen in the photos was wearing a green t-shirt or possibly sweatshirt with rolled sleeves with a red logo on the front, and black or dark gray sweat pants that had a hole on the upper left leg. He was wearing slide-on flip flops and was bald.

Courtesy of OCSO- Lightly altered light and cropped original image for sake of visual explanation.

Editors Note: Onslow Co. Sheriff’s Office says they are uncertain if the suspect has facial hair. The Onslow Beat did some image manipulation with lighting, you can see what appears to be facial hair or at least a five o’clock shadow. Citizens should keep that in mind when helping OCSO bring justice in this matter, don’t rule it out.

Courtesy of OCSO Slightly altered image: Cropped & lighting shift to show what The Onslow Beat believes to be a bandana.

Additionally, in the image captured by the rear of the vehicle, the suspect appears to be holding a cloth of sorts in his hands. Some have taken to social media comments saying this looks like a Home Depot apron, that has not been confirmed or discussed with OCSO as of yet by The Onslow Beat. The Onslow Beat did also take a deeper look into the image with more image manipulation to crop and shift lighting and it appears as a red bandana, “colors”. Look at that slightly altered above.


Additionally, in the image captured by the rear of the vehicle, the suspect appears to be holding a cloth of sorts in his hands. Some have taken to social media comments saying this looks like a Home Depot apron, that has not been confirmed or discussed with OCSO as of yet by The Onslow Beat. The Onslow Beat did also take a deeper look into the image with more image manipulation to crop and shift lighting and it appears as a red

bandana example
Stock Image from Google to show an example for visual explanation.

bandana, “colors”. Look at that slightly altered above.




Anyone with information about this incident may contact Onslow County Sheriff’s Office at 910-455-3113, Detective Watkins at 910-989-787-4060, or Crime Stoppers at 910-938-3273. Please refer to case 2019015332 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.

Man Wanted for Rape of Five Year Old



The Craven County Sheriff’s Office needs the public’s assistance in locating Michael Brandon Bryan, 37, last known address Highway 55 Cove City, NC. Michael Bryan is wanted for felony statutory rape of a child and felony statutory sex offense involving a five year old he was babysitting. Michael Bryan is operating a beige in color 2004 Chevrolet Avalanche with North Carolina registration plate PLX-6128.


  • Bryan has a criminal background and was charged for sexual battery in 2018 on May 27.
  • Bryan was convicted of (M) Assault on a female in 2017 and given a suspended sentence per NCDPS Database.
  •  Bryan has been convicted of drug paraphernalia and possession (M) in 2001 with suspended sentencing as of 2001.
  •  The relationship to the alleged child victim nor the victim’s mother has not been made known or confirmed other than “babysitting”.

Anyone with information on Michael Bryan’s location is asked to contact the Craven County Sheriff’s Office at 252-636-6620, Craven County Communications at 252-633-2357, or your local law enforcement agency.

Craven County Crime Stoppers is offering a reward for information leading to his arrest. To remain anonymous call 252-633-5141.

*photo of vehicle below is stock photo of same year and color vehicle Michael Bryan drives*

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.

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.


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.

OCSO is seeking the public’s help identifying people involved in a drive-by shooting in Jacksonville

Onslow County Sheriff’s Office Detectives are asking for the public’s help identifying and locating the owner or driver of a vehicle involved with two people being shot in the area of Blue Creek Farms Road on Sunday, July 14, 2019.

Around 6:30 p.m. deputies with the Onslow County Sheriff’s Office arrived at Blue Creek Farms Drive in Jacksonville to find two people with gunshot wounds. One woman, age 30, was shot in her lower back-upper leg area, and a 19-year-old woman was shot in the lower abdomen. Both females were treated at Naval Medical Center Camp Lejeune. The 19-year-old was later transported to Vidant Medical Center in Greenville for further treatment. The 30-year-old was treated and released from the hospital on Monday.

The investigation revealed that a dark-colored, two-door car drove by and shot at the residence during a party that known gang affiliates were attending. The vehicle was driving at a high rate of speed when the shootings occurred.

Due to the ongoing nature of the investigation and fear of retaliation against the victims and their families, we are not releasing the victims’ names.  Additional information will be released as it becomes available.  






Anyone with information about this incident, or if you can identify the owner of the vehicle in the photos, please contact Onslow County Sheriff’s Office at 910-455-3113 or Crime Stoppers at 910-938-3273. Please refer to case 2019010347 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:




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.


WANTED: OCSO issued release for whereabouts of Renaldo Shepard


The Onslow County Sheriff’s Office is asking for the public’s assistance in locating Renaldo Vanocur Shepard. Shepard is wanted in connection for his involvement in a stabbing incident that occurred at the Friendly Mart Convenience Store located at 3160 Wilmington Highway in Jacksonville, NC on 06-30-19 at approximately 7:44 PM. The victim has been identified as 28-year-old Sevonta Akeem Waddell of Burgaw, N.C.


Shepard is a 32-year-old black male, approximately 5’10” tall, weighing between 140-160 lbs., with long, dreadlock-style black hair and brown eyes. Shepard is known to frequent the Maple Hill areas of Onslow and Pender Counties. Shepard’s last known address was Jenkins Road in Jacksonville.


If you know the whereabouts of Renaldo Shepard pictured below, please contact Onslow County Sheriff’s Office at 910-455-3113, Detective Jonathan Marshburn at 910-989-4041; jonathan_marshburn@onslowcountync.gov, or Crime Stoppers at 910-938-3273. Please refer to case 2019009675 when calling.  

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.


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.

BUSTED: “Operation Royal Taken Down” knocked the Aryan Kings Gang off their throne in Sneads Ferry

Several people have been arrested on felony drug charges after the conclusion of “Operation Royal Taken Down.”

On Wed. 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.

The following individuals were arrested May 22, 2019 as a result of the investigation:

David Craig Milam, 35-years-old; 1417 Old Folkstone Road, Sneads Ferry CHARGES:

1. (F) Trafficking Heroin by Possession

2. (F) Trafficking Heroin by Manufacturing

3. (F) Trafficking Methamphetamine by Possession

4. (F) Trafficking Methamphetamine by Manufacturing

5. (F) PWIMSD Heroin

6. (F) PWIMSD Methamphetamine

7. (F) Manufacturing Heroin

8. (F) Manufacturing Methamphetamine

9. (F) Maintaining a Dwelling

10. (F) Possession of Stolen Firearm

11. (F) Possession of Firearm by a Convicted Felon

12. (F) Conspiracy to Traffick Heroin

13. (M) Possess Drug Paraphernalia

14. (M) Possession of less than half-ounce of marijuana

BOND: $1,000,000.00 secured

Brian Richard Pearce II, 25-years-old; 406 Winery Rd, Sneads Ferry CHARGES:

1. (F) Possession of methamphetamine

2. (M) Possession of Drug Paraphernalia

3. Failure to Appear- Misdemeanor Larceny

BOND: $7,000.00 secured

Robert Edward Harmer,46-years-old; 313 Kenny’s Ave, Holly Ridge CHARGES:

1. (F) Possession of Heroin

2. (M) possession of Drug Paraphernalia

BOND: $2,500.00 secured

Anthony David Lynn, 29-years-old; 733 Nine Mile Rd, Jacksonville CHARGES:

Order for Arrest

1. (M) Larceny

2. (M) Conspiracy

BOND: $500.00 secured

Charley Lynn Wiggs, 39-years-old; 1124 Carver Rd, Midway Park CHARGES:

(F) Possession of methamphetamine

(M) Possession of Drug Paraphernalia

BOND: $15,000.00 unsecured

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.

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.”




MOORESVILLE, NC: Shortly after 10 p.m. on Saturday, May 4, K9 Officer Jordan Harris Sheldon, 32, was shot during a routine traffic stop on West Plaza Drive. He was transported from the scene but later died from his injuries.

Photo Credits: Leigh Walther Photography

Sheldon served with the Mooresville Police Department for six years.

The suspect in the shooting fled the scene and was later located in a nearby apartment. Once police entered the residence, the suspect was confirmed dead from a self-inflicted gunshot wound.

The investigation is continuing with many local and state law enforcement agencies assisting. More details will be released at a later time.

Contacts:Chief Damon Williams, ddwilliams@mooresvillenc.gov, 704-704-664-3311

Deputy Chief G. Childress, gchildress@mooresvillenc.gov, 704-664-3311