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NEW BERN — Twin brothers DERICK EARL COWARD and ERIC MATTHEW COWARD, 22, of Grifton, appeared in Craven County District Court this morning for their first appearances on murder charges in the death of Anthony Tucker, 33, of Vanceboro. District Attorney Scott Thomas represented the State in court and advised District Court Judge Karen Alexander that each defendant was charged with one open count of murder. Judge Alexander advised the defendants of the charges, the potential punishments of life in prison without parole or the death penalty, and approved their requests for court-appointed attorneys. District Attorney Thomas requested that the defendants remain in custody under no bond, which Judge Alexander immediately approved. The next court date will be February 1, 2019. The cases were investigated and charged by the Craven County Sheriff’s Office.

District Attorney Thomas said, “The Craven County Sheriff’s Office did a great job of responding to, investigating, and filing initial charges in the death of Mr. Tucker. The Sheriff’s Office will now complete their investigation and submit their full investigative file to my office for review. Once we have completed our review, we will prepare bills of indictment to submit to the grand jury.”


Mr. Thomas added, “I met with Mr. Tucker’s family prior to the first court appearance and explained to them the court process. We will work closely with the victim’s family and the Sheriff’s Office as these cases move forward.”