Murder suspect pleads guilty before trial
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.