Pender County DA seeks death penalty in Surf City murder investigation

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Suspect held without bail

SURF CITY, NC (WWAY) — The man charged with murdering a Surf City business owner made his first appearance Friday in Pender County court.

It’s a murder that rocked the town of Surf City, a store clerk killed in an armed robbery,
Surf City Mayor Doug Medlin is still in disbelief.

“We just don’t understand something like that,” he said. “I mean we’ve had people come in and steal stuff, and things like that, but nothing like a robbery, and then specially somebody got killed in the process, so that’s is what really shocks the city.”

Pender County District Attorney Ben David echoes the mayor’s sentiment.

“I know this is a case that has shocked the community,” he said. “I know that’s something that a lot of people have turned their attention to, and we certainly give that a very high priority in the criminal justice system.”

David was in court with Assistant District Attorney Jason Smith and Surf City Police Chief Phillip Voorhees for the first appearance of 22-year-old Charles Michael Haywood.

Haywood is charged with the murder of Margaret Bracey, who was killed Wednesday night at her business, the Exotic Hemp Company, located at 100 Charlie Medlin Dr. off Highway 50.

As Judge Russell Davis read the charges, which included armed robbery, Haywood nodded – to confirm he understood the charges, he was then escorted out of the courtroom, proceedings lasted less than 10 minutes.

David’s office is pushing for the death penalty.

“It was the state’s request that he be appointed to the office of the Capital Advocate because this could be a death penalty case,” he said. “we also asked that he be held without bail”

The bureau and the police chief worked together the entire night the murder happened.
Law officials, as well as the district attorney’s office, have been keeping tabs on how Bracey was killed or if a weapon was used.

“We are not permitted to speak to the facts underlying the investigation,” David said.

The incident report requested by WWAY mentioned a suspect, who was armed with a “deadly cutting instrument”, and said the victim and suspect did not know each other.

Haywood is due in court on September 14.

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