SUPERIOR COURT CONVICTIONS LEAD TO PRISON SENTENCES

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NEW BERN – District Attorney Scott Thomas announced a series of convictions obtained by his office in Craven County Superior Court Wednesday, which included the following cases. In these matters, Superior Court Judge Imelda Pate presided, and the cases were prosecuted in court by Assistant District Attorney Robert McAfee.

NIGEL BRYANT GRADY, 20, of New Bern, was convicted upon his guilty plea to two (2) counts of Robbery with a Dangerous Weapon, two (2) counts of Second Degree Kidnaping, and one count of Malicious Conduct by a Prisoner. The armed robberies occurred in December, 2016, and March, 2017, respectively. In the first, Grady held a clerk at the Lucky Star Tobacco Shop at gunpoint, and made off with several hundred dollars. He was ultimately identified when the clerk saw Grady walking into a local grocery store. In the second robbery, Grady held two clerks at the Beech Grove Fuel Market at gunpoint using an AR-15 style rifle, and took several hundred dollars and cartons of cigarettes. During the course of the robbery, he pointed the rifle at the clerks and ordered them not to move, threatening to kill them. After his arrest, he threw a bodily fluid at a jail officer, constituting the Malicious Conduct by Prisoner charge. Judge Pate sentenced Grady to consecutive sentences totaling 140 to 192 months (11 ½ to 16 years).


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Grady’s co-defendant, DEREK LEON CHANDLER, JR., 21, of New Bern, pleaded guilty to Felony Conspiracy to Commit Robbery with a Dangerous Weapon. On the day before the Beech Grove robbery, Chandler stole a pair of gloves for Grady to use during the robbery, and Chandler’s vehicle and cell phone were located in the vicinity of the Beech Grove market during the time of the robbery, but Chandler did not enter the store. In light of his lack of prior record, Chandler was sentenced to a “split” sentence, consisting of jail time of three months, followed by three years of supervised probation, during which he will have to pay restitution to the store and the clerks victimized by Grady.


CHANNYNG BELL, 30, of New Bern, pleaded guilty to Assault with a Deadly Weapon Inflicting Serious Injury, for the stabbing of Alfred Arriaga Juarez in February, 2017. Following a dispute over Bell moving out of the Juarez residence, Bell used a kitchen knife to stab Juarez in the abdomen, and she fled the scene. Bell was on supervised probation at the time for an earlier conviction for Obtaining Property by False Pretense, but had absconded from her probation officer. When officers encountered her she dropped the knife that she was still carrying and ran from them. Judge Pate sentenced Bell to 26 to 47 months in prison for the assault charge, and found that Bell had willfully violated her probation. The judge then revoked Bell’s probationary sentence of 7 to 18 months, and sent her to prison to serve that time as well.


PRINCE KHALIEK SAUNDERS, 16, of New Bern, pleaded guilty to First Degree Burglary, and Larceny of a Firearm, for a nighttime home break-in occurring in April, 2017. Saunders, along with three co-defendants (two of whom were juveniles at the time), broke into the townhouse residence by breaking a kitchen window. They then took a metal meat grinder and smashed the glass front of a gun safe in the living room. They took five rifles with scopes, and fled the scene. The homeowner, who was awakened by the noise, grabbed his handgun and went to investigate; he reported that if he had been downstairs two seconds earlier, he would have shot the intruders. Police responded quickly and engaged in a foot chase with the four suspects. In the course of the chase and apprehension of the suspects, the officers recovered the five rifles, some of which had already been damaged by being thrown, dropped, and pushed into mud. Judge Pate sentenced Saunders to a prison term of 51 to 74 months, and placed him on supervised probation for the larceny count upon his release from prison. She also ordered Saunders to pay restitution to the victim for the damage to his residence, property, and firearms.

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.