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BAYBORO – District Attorney Scott Thomas announced the following convictions and sentences obtained by his office in criminal cases in Pamlico County Superior Court during last week’s term. Assistant District Attorney Christy Hawkins prosecuted these cases in court, and Resident Superior Court Judge John Nobles presided over this term of court. The Pamlico County Sheriff’s Office investigated each of these cases.

STEVIE RAY PALMER, 44, of Forest City, North Carolina, pled guilty to Assault on a Detention Facility Employee Inflicting Serious Injury. Palmer, an inmate at Pamlico Correctional Institution, began an argument with a corrections officer at the prison, after Palmer refused to comply with a lawful order by the officer. Palmer punched the officer in the face, and when the officer fell to the ground, Palmer punched the officer two more times, causing injuries to the officer. Judge Nobles sentenced Palmer to additional prison time of 33 to 49 months. Palmer, who has a long history of infractions within the prison system, was also subject to punishment within the prison’s discipline rules. He is now classified under a High Security designation.


SAMMY LEE HILL, 28, of New Bern, was convicted on his guilty plea to one count of Felony Breaking and Entering. Hill removed a window air conditioning unit from a neighbor’s home while the house was unoccupied, and entered through the window. He stole a coin jar worth $ 30.00. Judge Nobles sentenced Hill to a prison sentence of 6 to 17 months, and ordered Hill to repay not only the $ 30.00 restitution, but also to pay more than $ 3,000.00 in court costs and jail fees.

NICHOLAS CHRISTOPHER MURRAY, 30, of New Bern, pled guilty to Possession with Intent to Sell or Deliver Cocaine, and Possession with Intent to Sell or Deliver Suboxone. The cocaine charge was the result of an investigative purchase by the Pamlico County Sheriff’s Office using a cooperating informant, and Murray sold the informant approximately 3.0 grams of cocaine. The suboxone charge (suboxone is a drug that is used to treat opioid dependence, but can also be addictive by itself) resulted from another controlled purchase, where Murray had filled a lawful prescription for himself for suboxone, and then left the pharmacy and began selling the drug in the parking lot. Judge Nobles sentenced Murray to back-to-back sentences totaling 12 to 34 months in prison. Murray also has to pay court costs, laboratory fees for testing the drugs, and restitution to the Sheriff’s Office investigation fund.

ROBERT LEWIS BYRD, JR., 52, of New Bern, pled guilty to Possession of Methamphetamine. During the execution of a search warrant at a residence in Pamlico County in an unrelated case, Byrd was found to be a resident of the home. He was found in the room he occupied, smoking methamphetamine, and he was in possession of a smoking pipe for that purpose. Judge Nobles sentenced Byrd to prison for 9 to 20 months, and ordered that he be considered for substance abuse treatment while in prison.

NOTE: Under North Carolina Structured Sentencing law, a convicted criminal defendant must serve all of the minimum active sentence and may be required to serve up to the maximum sentence. Upon release at the conclusion of the prison sentence, a nine to twelve month period of post-release supervision by a probation officer is required.