Category Archives: MURDER
SCOTT E. THOMAS
New Bern, North Carolina – District Attorney Scott Thomas announced that, in Craven County Superior Court today, JONATHAN PUGH, 21, of Havelock, entered guilty pleas in the cases against him, including murder, and was sentenced to a lengthy prison term. The cases were scheduled for jury trial for March 27, 2017. Senior Resident Superior Court Judge Ben Alford presided, and the cases were prosecuted in court by District Attorney Scott Thomas and Assistant District Attorney Karen Hobbs and Assistant District Attorney Terry Light.
On April 14, 2013, Havelock Police received a call regarding shots fired at Flyers, a club located off Highway 101 / Fontana Boulevard. They found the victim, Todd Asa North, inside the doorway of the club, having been shot four times. Mr. North was transported to the hospital, where he was pronounced dead. Officers also found that five other people had been shot, but not fatally. Police interviewed more than 25 witnesses, and reviewed surveillance video from the club. Based on their investigation, they put together the following sequence of events: prior to the shooting, there was an altercation inside the club between two groups of people. One group consisted of PUGH – then 18 years of age — and his brother and friend. Both groups were escorted out of the club by security, including Todd North. During that escort, there was a further altercation between the security employees and PUGH.
PUGH left the area and returned to the club with a weapon. PUGH fired several rounds from the handgun (a .40 caliber Smith & Wesson) in the air, then walked to the front door of the club and fired into the club multiple times. Witnesses inside the club stated that Todd North was told about the gun in the parking lot, and retrieved his own weapon, and stood at the door of the club to prevent PUGH from coming inside. PUGH shot North four times, and North managed to shoot PUGH one time in the abdomen. PUGH then fled the scene. Havelock Police immediately reviewed the video footage, and were able to identify PUGH. They tracked him down and took him into custody, finding the gun in his waistband. PUGH was transported to the hospital for treatment,
and was found to have no detectable alcohol in his blood. All of the recovered shell casings matched PUGH’s weapon.
The five other persons shot suffered various injuries requiring medical treatment.
PUGH pled guilty to the following counts: Second Degree Murder; Discharging a Weapon into Occupied Property, and five counts of Assault with a Deadly Weapon with Intent to Kill Inflicting Serious Injury. Judge Alford sentenced PUGH to consecutive prison sentences, all totaling 495 to 630 months in prison (41 to 52 years).
District Attorney Scott Thomas said: “We are pleased the defendant has pled guilty and been sentenced up to 52 years in prison. We believed, based on the facts, a sentence in the life range was appropriate. A sentence up to 52 years for this 21-year-old defendant is essentially a life sentence. Pugh killed one person, injured five others and put even more at risk by his violent criminal conduct. Had Pugh not pled guilty today, his trial for these offenses would have begun March 27. The North family supports this guilty plea and sentence. They are glad to have the prosecution reach this successful conclusion.”
The case was investigated by the Havelock Police Department, with assistance from the Craven County Sheriff’s Office, the Naval Criminal Investigative Service, and a firearms expert from the North Carolina State Crime Lab in Raleigh.
Carteret County Sheriff’s Office
On 07/11/2016 a Carteret County Grand Jury indicted Michael John Becker, 51, and April Thomas Guthrie, 33 both of 702 Courtyard West, Newport on murder charges for the 2014 overdose death of Kendal Walbert that occurred at 200 Lydia Drive in Newport.
Detective Sgt. James Pittman, lead detective on the case, said Walbert, age 23 at the time, died on August 16, 2014, after using heroin sold to him by Guthrie and Becker. Drug detectives and the SBI worked hard on this case in the processing of not only drug evidence but gathering additional electronic evidence from the drug transactions.
District Attorney Scott Thomas said, “Sheriff Buck and I remain committed to fighting illegal drug activity and the deadly consequences that follow the illegal drug activity. We will continue to evaluate the evidence in each case involving the sale and distribution of illegal drugs and charge for the criminal conduct involved. It is imperative that individuals who engage in the sale of drugs understand they will be held accountable for their acts. We are trying to address the drug problem in Carteret County by focusing on education, prevention, intervention, treatment and enforcement.”
Sheriff Buck added, “I commend the investigators and the District Attorney’s Office for working to bring forth a
prosecutable case and hold these two drug dealers responsible for their actions which contributed to death of a young man in our County. Drug dealers prey upon people with addictions so they can make money or feed their own addictions. The drug problem is one of the main factors in most of our crime and accidental death in our society and we must continue to battle it every day. I hope this arrest and prosecution sends a message that where the evidence is available drug dealers will be held accountable for their actions when their poison causes someone’s death. “
Becker and Guthrie have been charged with one count each of second degree murder with unlawful distribution of a controlled substance, sell & deliver heroin, and conspiracy to sell and deliver heroin.
Guthrie is currently incarcerated in the North Carolina Department of Adult Corrections women’s prison in Raleigh serving a six-year sentence for the sale and delivery of narcotics. Her first appearance is scheduled for Monday, July 18th. Becker was arrested on 07/11/2016 and was placed on a $225,000 secured bond. His first appearance is scheduled for today.
ANONYMOUS REPORTS OF CRIMINAL ACTIVITY CAN BE REPORTED TO CARTERET COUNTY CRIME STOPPERS AT (252) 726-INFO OR EMAIL CRIMETIPS@CARTERETCOUNTYGOV.ORG_
You can now text your Crime Stoppers Tip to (252) 241-0946
Chief Bernette Morris, Chief of Police, Morehead City Police Department
On July 5th 2016 the Morehead City Police Department responded to Country Club Apartments approximately 6:30pm in regard to a requested welfare check on Wendy Rae Tamagne, age 37. Upon arrival on scene it was determined that Wendy Tamagne, was deceased. Any and all unattended deaths are treated as homicides by our investigators.
The Morehead City Police Department, North Carolina State Bureau of Investigation, and District Attorney Scott Thomas are continuing to work diligently on this case. The investigation has revealed that this case is a homicide. Detectives and Agents have worked through the night and with the approval of District Attorney Scott Thomas, a warrant for arrest has been issued for an open count of murder for David Isaiah Godwin of Newport, North Carolina. Godwin is described as a W/M DOB: 03/22/1991, 5’8”, and weighing approximately185 pounds.
Godwin is thought to be driving a 1998 black Ford Ranger with a black vinyl type cover on the bed, displaying a North Carolina Registration Plate of DLT-6114.
Godwin is to be considered armed and dangerous.
This is not considered a random act. It is an isolated incident. If you have any information on the whereabouts of David Isiah Godwin, contact the Carteret Emergency Communication Center at (252) 726-1911 or call Crime Stoppers at (252) 726-4636.
Sheriff orders tight security. Accused man wears bullet proof vest.
BAYBORO – Amid perhaps the most stringent security ever seen in Pamlico County’s only courtroom, Joe Thomas Jones III –- shackled, handcuffed, wearing a bullet proof vest, surrounded by a half-dozen plain-clothes deputies, and wearing the familiar black-and-white stripes reserved for those accused of violent crimes – was officially charged with murdering his parents, Joe Thomas Jones, 82; and, Geraldine Thompson Jones, 76
The brief proceeding is known as a ‘First Appearance.’ Aside from a bevy of law enforcement officials and a heavy contingent of news media, the large courtroom was almost devoid of spectators – with only a few members of the Jones family present.
As he typically does in murder cases and other serious felonies, District Attorney Scott Thomas personally presented the two murder charges against the defendant, age 53. Based upon an affidavit submitted by Jones, District Court Judge Clint Rowe determined the man lacks financial wherewithal to pay legal bills, and thus qualifies for a court-appointed, taxpayer-paid attorney. Court officials in Raleigh are expected to recommend one or more criminal defense attorneys, certified in North Carolina to represent indigent defendants in murder cases. Jones will not be expected to enter a plea until he has conferred with an attorney.
“If convicted, there are just two possible outcomes,” said Rowe. “Life imprisonment or the death penalty.” Rowe granted a request from Thomas that the suspect remain incarcerated in the Pamlico County Detention Center under a ‘no bail bond’ provision.
In an effort to ensure a rock-solid investigation, which should help prosecutors if the case ever goes to trial, Scott Thomas and Pamlico County Sheriff Chris Davis have been tight-lipped about details surrounding the murders, which were discovered late Saturday afternoon at the Jones’s modest home on Janeiro Road.
Neighbors, who live within earshot of the residence, reported shouting and loud voices sometime early Saturday morning. The next court date for Jones has been scheduled for Friday, May 8.
Law enforcement officials release one-minute recording
PAMLICO COUNTY – Sheriff Chris Davis has authorized the release of a call, which first alerted authorities to the slayings of an elderly couple on Janeiro Road. The phone call, made by a male relative, came in just before 4 p.m. on Saturday, April 18, and triggered an immediate investigation, leading to the arrest Sunday night of Joe Thomas Jones III – a son of the victims.
Jones is to be arraigned on murder charges Wednesday morning, April 22, in Pamlico County District Court in a courtroom on the second floor of the Bayboro Courthouse.
Quiet, rural home rocked by violence Saturday afternoon
PAMLICO COUNTY — On Saturday, April 18, at approximately 3:47 p.m. the Pamlico County Sheriff’s Office received a call regarding the discovery of two deceased individuals located in a residence at 1396 Janeiro Road near Oriental.
Upon arrival, deputies requested assistance from the North Carolina State Bureau of Investigation. Pamlico County deputies and agents with the State Bureau of Investigation began collecting evidence and conducting interviews. Responding officers located two deceased individuals inside the residence, identified as follows:
- Joe Thomas Jones, black male with date of birth: 08/01/1932
- Geraldine Thompson Jones, black female with date of birth: 12/18/1938
On Sunday, April 19, at approximately 11:30 p.m. Joe Thomas Jones III, 54, also of 1396 Janeiro Road, was taken into custody and charged with two open counts of murder in connection to the deaths of his parents Joe Thomas Jones and Geraldine Thompson Jones as a result of the investigation.
Jones is being held in the Pamlico County Detention Center under a NO BOND. First court appearance for Jones will be Wednesday in Pamlico County District Court.
Two arrested, another could be charged
By Jeff Aydelette | Staff Writer
REELSBORO – A remote, snow-encrusted end-of-the-road boat ramp was the scene of an apparent murder Thursday when John Paul Zubia, 24, died after first being beaten with a baseball bat, and subsequently shot.
The violent fracas occurred at a state-owned site known as the Lee Landing Public Boat Ramp. After a busy day of pursuing leads, Pamlico County Sheriff Billy Sawyer confidently described the crime as a “pre-arranged fight over a girl,” which occurred just after midnight early Thursday.
Sawyer and other law enforcement officers acted quickly. By late Thursday afternoon, officials had arrested Cleveland Caraway II after a raid on the Scott’s Store Road residence of Kristen Alexandria Lee, age 31. Lee did not participate in the attack on Zubia, but was charged as an accomplice to the crime, according to Sawyer.
“He (Caraway) used her car,” said Sawyer, “and this morning we talked to her but she hid him from us. Her cell phone had a text message on it (to Caraway) where she said ‘I’ll help you hide the gun.’”
Officials believe the fight was over a different woman — not Lee, the female charged with harboring a fugitive.
In addition to Caraway and Zubia (the victim), a third man was also involved, although law enforcement officials have not yet released his name. Sawyer said he intends to confer with District Attorney Scott Thomas before any decision is made on whether to arrest the other suspect.
Insiders familiar with the case say text messages and Facebook postings between the two men make it clear that the clandestine altercation was not happenstance, but rather planned. That fact is important should Caraway face trial, as it would seem to eliminate any claim of self-defense during the altercation.
North Carolina criminal records indicate Caraway, 34, is a convicted felon, having previously served almost a year and a half in state prison after being convicted in April 2009 for Assault to Inflict Serious Bodily Injury. His record also shows that he was charged in August 2008 with Resisting a Public Officer, Possession of Schedule IV Controlled Substance, and Wanton Injury to Personal Property.