Man accused in father’s stabbing death denied bond; 911 call describes frantic scene

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Submitted: Fri, 05/03/2013 - 7:53pm
Updated: Mon, 05/06/2013 - 12:02pm

WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) — A Wilmington man is in jail without bond after allegedly stabbing his father to death last night. Corey Eugene Roberts, 20, is charged with first-degree murder.

A frantic 911 call from the Roberts family’s home began with the caller saying a man was trying to kill himself. It ended with desperate cries for an ambulance.

“It is still happening,” the female caller said. “He is trying to kill himself. I need an ambulance now.”

Wilmington Police arrived at 503 Knighthawk Drive around 6:45 p.m. Thursday after the 911 call.

“He is trying to stab himself,” said the caller, who then told the operator Roberts had a knife.

According to the caller, Roberts was trying to hurt himself. The caller then describes the situation taking a violent turn.

“He is African-American. He is not very tall, about 5’7″. He has kind of, like it is not an afro, but it is sort of… I think he stabbed my dad. I think he stabbed my dad!” the caller said. “Get an ambulance here now!”

Officers found Corey Roberts outside his home with a knife they believe he used to stab his father, Christopher Eugene Roberts, 52. Officers arrested Corey Roberts at the scene. His father was rushed to the New Hanover Regional Medical Center where he was pronounced dead.

Corey Roberts was in court Friday morning. When the judge asked him if he had anything to say, Roberts said, “Sorry,” and began crying.

Neighbors, who did not want to go on camera, say they are in shock. They say they live in a neighborhood where everyone knows one another, and the Robertses always seemed like a happy family.

Roberts is in the New Hanover County Jail without bond. He was appointed a death-penalty certified public defender.


  • Guest111 says:

    Wow, the 911 lady should lose her job. She wouldn’t send an ambulance for a good 2 min, there was no need for her ignorance. they could have been there before the stabbing or just as it happened and saved his life. She should be blamed for something here. That just isn’t right.

  • Shawna says:

    I went to middle school and high school with Corey. Everytine I saw him he always had a smile on his face and had a positive attitude. He is not the type of person that did something like this on purpose. It was a suicide attempt that got out of control and an innocent person was killed. But before u bash Corey you need to understand what he was going through to get to the point that he wanted to kill himself. And I know he didn’t mean to kill his father. They were a happy family. And as for all you people that concerned with your safety i dont know what to tell u because you sound very ignorant, not knowing the circumstances of this situation. Corey is not and never has been a criminal and most of you are judging him on the color of his skin. And I am a young white woman. My prayers and wishes go out to the Roberts family. This is an unbelievable ordeal. Because not one but two people are being taken from this family. And I think that the ignorance in these comments is ridiculous.

  • Begondhey says:

    Its definitely a possibility but I think 1st degree murder is a stretch. I’d say this is 2nd degree honestly, but then again we are not aware of all the information relating to this sad, and unfortunate tragedy. Only time will tell. My deepest sympathies are with the Roberts family, they will be in my thoughts and prayers. From the corey I knew, he was a genuine, nice, very intelligent, all around good kid…

  • A J L says:

    I was shocked to hear the 911 tape played on the news for several reasons; however, it is quite disturbing to hear how the 911 Operator spoke to the young lady making the call.


    It was good to read earlier today disciplinary action is being considered.

    The family needs prayer and privacy at this time.

  • craig sparks says:

    very very sad/ This kid (only 20) had a bright future and now is looking at central prison in Raleigh. Central is one exit past NCSU (my alma mater). “the kid” deserves every ounce of consideration. Based on reports he is remorseful. He cried at the first appearance and those were real tears. Tonight as you go to bed think of this young kid and think about how much he cannot eat,sleep or even think about his dad. You are in my prayers to night sir. I hope I am right.

  • GuestNCNative says:

    You really should learn and understand what you’re talking about BEFORE you open your mouth.

    When a call comes in to the 9-1-1 center, EMS is paged out IMMEDIATELY if there is even a suspicion that the call involves someone who is sick and/or injured. The calltaker in this case was NOT working the EMS channel, so NO, you would NOT have heard her dispatching EMS. She’d already sent the call over for EMS and Law to be dispatched. What you hear is her trying to get as much information about this rapidly-changing call as she could. EMS and Law were already en route from the moment she was told that someone was trying to kill themself.

    She was NOT being “ignorant”. An ambulance and officers were ALREADY HEADING TOWARDS THE SCENE. At that point, she was trying to gather as much information about the suspect as possible. Why? So that responding officers could be looking for the suspect on their way to the scene.

    Being a 9-1-1 dispatcher is one of the most stressful jobs on the planet. Nobody ever calls 9-1-1 because they’re having a *good* day. I’ll wager the average person can’t put up with the level of stress that dispatchers encounter each time they answer the phone. Add to that the fact that people working in the 9-1-1 center not only take calls but also dispatch them – frequently at the same time. A dispatcher can be on the phone taking a 9-1-1 call while simultaneously having to dispatch traffic on whatever channel they are working. Juggling those two things without letting either suffer is a balancing act that few are able to do.

    I daresay that YOU, Guest111, could NOT do this job. The fact that you’ve thrown in the towel and concluded defeat for the dispatcher means that you have demonstrated an appalling lack of ability to stick around when the going gets tough. Good thing this dispatcher didn’t suffer from the same disease that makes you so weakly yellow.

  • GuestYahooey says:

    Are you even capable of seeing your own hypocrisy in your comments? The family needs PRIVACY??!?

    Well, good thing you’re reading this story and these comments and then contributing to it with your own ridiculous lack of concern about giving the family their privacy.

    Sit down and shut up before someone mistakes you for a jackass.

  • Guest789 says:

    Before you post something like this that you know nothing about, you should really know how the system works. Asking questions doesn’t slow the responding units down. The dispatchers have a set of questions that they are required to ask even after the call is already dispatched by another co worker. When an emergency call comes in, the call is sent to the units that need to respond while the person taking the calls continues to gather information for responding units. This dispatcher didn’t slow up help getting to the party in need.

  • PublicAvenger says:

    She can’t send an ambulance, until the police arrive, and give the ok. It sounded bad. But it is her job to get as much information as possible. Which is what she was trying to do.

  • GuestSoEz2C says:

    She spent valuable time asking self answered questions rather than Sending an Ambulance too the scene of This Tragic Incident,I know that you have your standard ABC’s 123’s guidelines you follow but You Missed It Honey Boo boo. YOU DESERVE TOO BE TERMINATED!!!

  • GuestNCNative says:

    You’re just wrong on several issues.

    First, if you listen to the recording VERY carefully, you will discover that the whole thing is edited. What is edited out is CLEARLY not what the dispatcher said at any point, so don’t even try to say that the recording was edited to protect the dispatcher. That leaves only one person whose words were edited: THE CALLER. Just because you can’t hear her being COMPLETELY UNCOOPERATIVE quite frequently doesn’t mean that the caller was blameless and calm.

    Ask yourself the following question: What would YOU have done if YOU had to answer that 9-1-1 call? Through a distraught caller’s fragmented words and hysterical shreiking, you would HAVE to gather certain pieces of information. You would need to know an address as quickly as possible. If the caller was never able to give but one piece of information, a location would have to be that piece of information. We can then send fire, EMS, and Law to the scene. You would need to know the phone number the caller called you from so that you can call them back if the line is disconnected. You would need to know what is happening on scene so you can determine who to send – Law, EMS, Fire, or a combination of the above. As dispatchers, we automatically send EMS and Law to any call involving suicidal subjects as soon as we know where they are and that they are suicidal. We have no choice over that because it’s automatically programmed into our CAD system to generate and immediately dispatch once those 2 things are known. As soon as the calltaker knew this was someone threatening suicide and where they were physically located, and ambulance and police officers were dispatched. Every question from the calltaker after that was about determining scene safety while simultaneously attempting to give the caller lifesaving CPR instructions.

    Next, you would need to know where the weapon is. If a guy has just stabbed his own father, he’s CLEARLY not in his right mind already. Maybe YOU are comfortable with not requiring that piece of information, but as a dispatcher who frequently has to send offcers in similar dangerous situations all the time, I can assure you that I’m going to do everything in my power to make sure a crazed person who just murdered his own father does not murder one of my officers.

    Sometimes we HAVE to speak loudly and forcefully because the nature of the call dictates it. If a caller is being hysterical, we HAVE to get their attention. We HAVE to get them to refocus.

    Sending the call over for dispatch as soon as she knew a location and that the guy was threatening suicide, the customer service portion of the call was largely completed. The caller had dialed 9-1-1 in order to get help. The dispatcher did that.

    If the responding officer was YOU or someone you love, wouldn’t you be wanting that dispatcher to find out EXACTLY where that guy and his knife were at all times? If he had just killed someone you know and/or love, wouldn’t you want to know how he’s dressed and how he looks in case he tries to flee before police officers get on scene?

    So if you’ve HONESTLY considered the information I’ve just given you, I think it’s absolutely fair to say that YOU are the one being judgemental here. You spouted off truly ridiculous comments in your post that were based on ignorance of what really happened during that call.

    I admit I was indeed being judgemental when I said Guest111 couldn’t handle being a 9-1-1 dispatcher. Unlike YOU, my comments are based on facts. Because I know EXACTLY what happened during that call, and because I have 20 years of experience as a 9-1-1 dispatcher, I have every right and reason in the world to say that Guest111 could NOT handle this job.

    Neither could YOU, for that matter.

  • Me,Myself, and I says:

    At first, the dispatcher was very polite. She politely spoke several times, to this understandably frantic caller. Who kept saying, “Get and ambulance now! Get and ambulance now!” Then the dispatcher tried another approach, when passive-politeness, clearly wasn’t working. She had to get that vital information, needed for Law Enforcement, and EMS.

    A horrible, tragic, death has occurred. And I know you’re upset. But this is no time for hatred against a innocent, hard working, dispatcher, trying as hard as she can to get vital, life-saving, information, for the Police, and EMS, so they can try to apprehend the danger, and more importantly, to save this man’s life.

    You may not know this, but when violence is occurring, EMS can’t do their job, until the police are able to take control of the scene. How can they put you in an ambulance, when someone is trying to shoot or stab them ? Vital suspect information has to be obtained.

    You might want to try looking past your hatred against her, and try blaming the real person at fault here. The killer. Who chose to attack a man, and take his life.

  • Lebowski says:

    Since you have no idea what you’re talking about. Don’t be a keyboard warrior. If you haven’t got the stones to say it in real life then don’t say it at all. Now shut your face.

  • Pls124 says:

    Wow, clearly the dispatcher started yelling at this young girl, who was speaking calmly and gave the info needed. She spoke over the girl often and yelled at her when there was no need. It was unprofessionally handled. And to say that guest111 couldn’t handle the job is quite judgemental, this dispatcher wasn’t working with quality customer service, it’s clear in this tape and I’m sure it’s happened before.

  • Klgm says:

    It’s so disturbing to read some of the vicious, uncaring comments. I also know this family, and I also know the background. It was a very, very tragic incident that could have happened to any family. “There but by the grace of God, go I.” If you don’t have issues like these, you probably have others. So rather than use the comments section to judge others, why not say a quiet prayer or meditation to yourself, give your loved ones an extra hug, and thank your lucky stars that today, at least for today, your life has not been ripped apart by tragedy. If after that you’re feeling particularly charitable, say a prayer for the Roberts family. They would truly appreciate it!

  • Mom911 says:

    Is it possible this young man was attempting to “kill himself” & his father was trying to prevent him from injuring himself. Until we know further details, we should reserve judgement. Domestic violence is quick & horrific & many people make terrible decisions “in the heat of the moment”. Prayers to the family and the friends of this family.

  • Guestxxxx says:

    “WHERE is safe??? I want to know, there is NO safe place!!! You have to be aware of your surroundings anywhere and eveywhere, never let your gaurd down, keep your eyes open and use your common sense.” DP101,

    I wish people would adopt that same attitude behind the wheel!

    The tragedy between this father and son is truly horrible. At this time we do not know but mental health could be a factor. I am sorry for this whole family and their friends that will suffer.

  • Deb says:

    We may never know what happened in this home. The family members there most likely do not really know. Domestic violence goes from “calm to deadly” in seconds. That is why obtaining vital information is the PRIORITY of the 911 Center. Scene safety is the PRIORITY of those dispatched to these violent scenes. You are right, a family has been torn apart, & the Dispatcher who took this call, has been torn apart also. Her entire career has been reduced down to this call because she sounded rude and harsh. Her job is to take control of the 911 call & maintain control, not the caller. She did her job but not to the liking of the public due to the tone of her voice. In this tragedy, let’s blame someone (could it be the “good kid” who stabbed his Father to death? No way, he was a “good kid”!!) Let’s blame the Dispatcher because she sounded harsh. 911 Management should support this veteran employee & not crucify her. Hopefully, the Roberts Family will understand she was doing the job to save their lives from a killer & cut her some slack. She is not the one who is at fault here. Please allow something positive to come from this awful, deadly situation.

  • Sop789 says:

    This comment is ignorant. If you knew this kid you would be in shock and want to help
    Him, he is clearly in need of help if he wanted to kill himself. May god help you in the way you judge people, that is for God to do. Not for any of us.

  • Guest CommonTater says:

    what I know or not? I may be closer to the truth than you know. You have some insight here that makes you the expert? I think not. What’s there to understand? The kind polite son kills the dad right? Happens all the time. He was a good boy.. just misunderstood. Got it……

    pfft.. Get a life.

  • Guest CommonTater says:

    So? Dead is dead right? Sure it is… I’m sure you were attempting a point….

  • GuestNCNative says:

    Exactly where did the previous commenter say anything about Corey? NOWHERE. S/He made what I consider to be a fair generalization about a certain group of people in general, namely, those who choose to murder a parent.

    CommonTater most certainly was commenting on something that we all do know about this situation. A man was murdered, and a FAMILY MEMBER WITNESSED IT AND STATED COREY DID IT.

    Oh…and you nailed that whole attempt at being civil…NOT. Calling someone a condescending d*** is the very definition of being civil??!? Hardly.

    But hey thanks for reaffirming my beliefs about those who attend NCSU.

  • Cureforstupid says:

    That is literally the most childish thing I’ve ever read that was written by an adult.

    Using the death of a man at the hands of his own son (as well as insulting the people who knew him) to try to justify some nonsensical belief by you/your school regarding the students of NCSU. Really?! You’re going to to try to bring up dumb rivalries at a time like this? Are you serious? Are you really that pathetic?

    I swear, some people (like you) should’ve just been aborted. The world would be better for it not to mention some poor soul could’ve used the stem cells from your aborted fetus to help another person who actually deserved to live.

  • Me says:

    It doesn’t happen every day, it’s obviously not normal. But we never know the pain a person is going through. He wasn’t an angry kid. According to this, he wanted to kill himself. We all need to be more aware of those we love and care about, we never know what kind of pain they are in or help they need if we don’t take the time to be open and love eachother. A family has been torn apart, and it’s rude to point fingers at someone you do not know personally.

  • Me says:

    If you want to put it like that then here’s one for you, well respected businessmen drive drunk and crash into families on there way home everyday…

  • NCSU Student says:

    I’m going to try to be as civil as possible but you really know nothing about Corey or his family. I was Corey’s suite-mate freshmen year at NCSU. He showed no signs of any sort of mental illness and he was generally a nice, polite person. The only fault I ever saw in him was the fact he kept sleeping through his classes. I can’t even imagine what he or his family is going through. I still can’t wrap my head around the fact that this happened. So the next time you know nothing about a situation; don’t post spiteful comments and look like a complete condescending d*** in the process.

  • Wreckhouse says:

    Wow. Trash commenting on something they have no insight on and couldn’t possibly understand. Sounds about right.

  • Guest CommonTater says:

    “Polite respectful” kids stab their fathers to death every day…. no arguments on that.

    **rolls eyes**

  • jackson says:

    Thanks I really get sick of people thinking all black people are criminals and no one else does anything

  • A Friend says:

    The audacity of your comment about your own safety amazes me. This was a family issue turned bad. Stop thinking only of yourself for a minute and think about what this family has just been through. None of us could ever understand what they are feeling right now. How about praying for them instead of immediately thinking of yourself. This is not about you.

  • A Friend says:

    The audacity of your comment about your own safety amazes me. This was a family issue turned bad. Stop thinking only of yourself for a minute and think about what this family has just been through. None of us could ever understand what they are feeling right now. How about praying for them instead of immediately thinking of yourself. This is not about you.

  • Ex Liberal says:

    If he killed his father he would kill you just as quick.

  • Kiki Solomon says:

    A death so close to our home is a little frightening. I consider Pine Valley subdivision as a whole, (including the smaller subdivisions within), a safe place to live and raise a family.

    It’s just hard to imagine that we’ve had 2 murders here within the last two years; one of which, if I’m not mistaken, remains unsolved (Pine Valley Dr. murder, July 2011).

    My biggest concern is, are we safe within the confines of our neighborhood?

  • DP101 says:

    WHERE is safe??? I want to know, there is NO safe place!!! You have to be aware of your surroundings anywhere and eveywhere, never let your gaurd down, keep your eyes open and use your common sense.

  • GuestReality says:

    Absolutely not…..No one is safe within the confines of their neighborhood or anywhere else. Crime is everywhere, even in expensive neighborhoods like Landfall. The best thing you can do is be ever watchfull and take the best precautions that you can. Don’t be paranoid about it; just be alert.

  • Guest-o-matic says:

    …and mental cases allowed to freely roam about in our society, you just may want to consider retaining some effective form of self-defense to have on hand…just in case…you know, another unfortunate murder-type event happens to convene once again in your neighborhood.

  • Wilmington Observer says:

    “Safety” is a state of mind, influenced by the management of your own surroundings and abilities to, appropriately, respond to unforeseen circumstances. Do you, your home or neighborhood look like an easy victim or have you installed defenses (ranging from high tech electronics to, simple, landscaping ideas to the way you carry yourself in public) or deterrents (motion activated lights, a protective dog, etc)? Have you planned out how you would respond in various situations (an unexpected doorbell ring in the middle of the day, or night, a stranger hanging around your car as you exit the grocery store or the, inevitable, “bump in the night) or will you wait and let fear, erroneously, dictate your response? We are fortunate to live in an area with admirable law enforcement agencies. However, even the best police agencies can’t be everywhere all of the time which leaves us all responsible for the management of our own safety.

  • neighbor says:

    This is a very unfortunate accident. This is a wonderful family and it is a sad situation; my heart breaks for them. You never know what families are going through. I don’t know where you live, but I could throw a rock and hit their home……I am not fearful at all. I am so sorry for the family and we should do what we can to help…say a prayer.

  • taxpayer says:

    “My biggest concern is, are we safe within the confines of our neighborhood?”

    Safer than walking the streets of Creekwood after dark.

  • Guest525 says:

    Yeah you are as safe in the “confines of our neighborhood” as you are at the Boston Marathon. WAKE UP Tootsie. Crime is not confined to the poor and middle class. It hits you “better” folk too. And no, I am not black, I am as lilly white as you.

  • Big Daddy says:

    A quiet, polite young man, anyone who knows Corey are stunned. Wow, this is a real shock. Made me call my 20 year old son up at NC State to remind him of my unconditional love.

  • otis says:

    Come on Big Daddy! That is corny, cheesy or goofy…Whatever people call it these days.

  • Guest699 says:

    Maybe you’d do the same if you knew a young boy was in such pain that he was suicidal. I would call my son too and remind him that he is loved.

  • Guest2020 says:

    It’s something of a jump from theft to murder, but “good kids” don’t steal.

  • Me says:

    Corey is polite and respectful, as was his father. We must not judge because we don’t know what went on in their home last night. Corey is a good kid, truely. theres got to be more to this tradgedy than we have been told so far. His father will be missed. God be with their family.

  • Guest CommonTater says:

    “Polite respectful” kids stab their fathers to death every day…. no arguments on that.

    **rolls eyes**

  • Teach me! says:

    “Wilmington Observed”-
    I have thought about your post all weekend. I am in the medical field and I frequently think out reacting to some life-threatening situations. It mentally prepares us for the situation when it arises (as it undoubtedly does). That being said, I am frequently home alone with my small children and I wonder how I would react to the doorbell or bump in the night, but I have never come up with a good vision. Where can I find information and statistics on the best way to react to these situations that inevitably catch you off gaurd? I keep the yard mowed and we have a dog. How do I make myself and my home not look like an “easy victim”; what are “landscaping ideas”?
    Thank you!

  • Your name mane says:

    This is crazy. Completely unreal.

  • Guest Reply says:

    “Newark South”

  • knuckles says:

    newark south.this is to funny.(smh)

  • Melanie Keene says:

    How Chris died is nothing short of the man he was. In his circles I can say for all of us, we morn a true hero, friend, business associate and he will be missed by one and all. Rest in peace my friend, your good deeds here on earth will be rewarded in heaven.
    I would say the whole town is a bit less without Chris’s smile and wit.

  • Veronica Hedges says:

    Chris Roberts was one of the finest people I have ever known. He always made it a priority to help others any way he could. He will be missed by all who knew him.

  • Vog46 says:

    Murders so far this year in Wilmington?


  • GuestDP201 says:

    Behind my 12 ga shotgun!!!

  • Jay Guest says:

    Chris Roberts was a wonderful man. He was a business networking associate as well as a customer. I am shocked and saddened. I never met his son, but I am sure Chris was there to help a son in need. There is always more to a story than gets reported. I will truly miss our friend Chris.

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