State of North Carolina
General Court of Justice , Prosecutorial District Three B
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE | APRIL 18, 2013
SCOTT E. THOMAS | DISTRICT ATTORNEY
THREE MEN CONVICTED, SENTENCED FOR HOME INVASION
New Bern, North Carolina – District Attorney Scott Thomas announced that in Craven County Superior Court today, JAMES MATTHEW IRELAND, 29, of Vanceboro, ANDREW JAMES POTTER, 27, of Bridgeton, and JOHN MATTHEW NIGH, 25, of Grantsboro, were convicted on their guilty pleas to charges arising out of a home invasion occurring in April, 2012.
According to the indictments in the case, and information presented in open court, the victims, a husband and wife living on Piney Neck Road in Vanceboro, were in their home just after 9:00 p.m., with the husband sitting down to watch television after finishing work, and the wife just getting out of the
shower. POTTER and NIGH, wearing bandanas across their faces, and carrying a shotgun, burst through the front door of the home, demanding money and prescription drugs. The victims had neither, and POTTER and NIGH held the two at gunpoint, and made them lie face-down first in their kitchen, and then in their young son’s bedroom. One of the assailants began taking items from the home – a computer, a television, cell phones, and even the child’s cancer medication. IRELAND waited outside in the getaway vehicle. After stealing the items, the three left and sped away. Craven County Sheriff’s deputies responded to the wife’s 911 call, and intercepted and stopped the vehicle. All three suspects fled on foot, but were eventually apprehended through a methodical law enforcement investigation, which included obtaining information from the girlfriends and roommates of IRELAND,
POTTER and NIGH. Craven County Sheriff’s investigators also found surveillance video and a credit card receipt showing where NIGH and POTTER had purchased beer and bandanas of the same color used in the robbery and burglary.
All three were convicted of: First Degree Burglary, Armed Robbery, and two counts of Second Degree Kidnaping, along with conspiracy counts. IRELAND was also charged with Failing to Report Address Change by Sex Offender and Breaking and Entering in unrelated matters. POTTER was also charged with Possession of Weapon by Prisoner for having a homemade shank in his cell at the Craven County Jail. NIGH was also charged with being a Felon in Possession of a Firearm, the shotgun used in the cases.
IRELAND, who is an habitual felon, was sentenced to serve 18 to 23 years in prison. POTTER and NIGH were each sentenced to 14 to 18 years in prison. All three were ordered to pay the victims restitution of $ 6163.00. All sentences will be served in the North Carolina Division of Adult Correction.
District Attorney Scott Thomas said in court during the sentencing hearing that, except for murder cases and those involving sex offenses, home invasion cases involve the greatest level of violation of other people’s privacy and safety. He added, “People should expect to be safe and secure in their own homes. These two homeowners were in their own home, alone, when these defendants busted in with a shotgun. This is a serious crime of violence, and long active prison sentences are justified. These cases resulted in guilty pleas due to the good work of Assistant District Attorney Hobbs, Investigator Wade, and other deputies.”
The case was investigated by the Craven County Sheriff’s Office, led by Inv. Kenny Wade. The case was prosecuted by District Attorney Scott Thomas and Assistant District Attorney Karen Hobbs. Resident Superior Court Judge Kenneth Crow was presiding.