SHOOTING CASE ENDS WITH GUILTY PLEA PRIOR TO TRIAL

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NEW BERN – District Attorney Scott Thomas announced that, in Craven County Superior Court, just prior to his case being called for trial, TIMOTHY D. REELS, JR., 28, of Havelock, entered a guilty plea to shooting his former landlord, and was sentenced to approximately 4 ½ years to 7 years in prison. Superior Court Judge Charles Henry presided over this term of court, and the case was prosecuted in court by Assistant District Attorney Robert J. McAfee. The Craven County Sheriff’s Office investigated the case, with assistance from the Havelock and New Bern Police Departments.

In October, 2016, Reels was renting a trailer from his landlord in a mobile home park in Havelock. A dispute arose between the two over the utilities and condition of the trailer, and over unpaid rent, such that the landlord had come to the trailer to make sure that Reels had moved out. Reels and the landlord confronted each other, and a physical fight began. Reels pulled out a .380 caliber handgun, and the landlord pushed him away, turning to run out of the trailer. Reels fired twice, striking the victim in the leg and the arm, fracturing one of the bones in his forearm. The landlord ran a few doors down and a neighbor called 911 while trying to render first aid as the landlord was bleeding profusely. Reels fled in a car, and wound up at the Sunset Inn on Nunn Street. Reels’ movements were easily tracked, because he was on a GPS ankle bracelet as part of his probation for an earlier Carteret County conviction. While in the car, being driven to the motel, Reels texted a girlfriend that he had just shot someone.

Reels was taken into custody, while the victim was taken to CarolinaEast Medical Center and then Vidant Medical Center for surgery. Reels was interviewed, and eventually admitted shooting his landlord and leaving the scene. Reels pled guilty to Assault with a Deadly Weapon Inflicting Serious Injury, and Possession of a Firearm by Convicted Felon. Reels, a convicted sex offender, also pled guilty to failing to notify the Sheriff’s Office of an earlier address change.


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Judge Henry sentenced Reels to consecutive terms of 38 – 58 months, followed by 15 – 27 months, for a total sentence of 53 to 85 months, or approximately 4 ½ years to 7 years. The judge also ordered Reels to undergo psychological testing and therapy 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.

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