3 charged in Bladen County native’s murder; blunt force trauma cause of death

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Submitted: Thu, 05/23/2013 - 3:20am
Updated: Thu, 05/23/2013 - 12:01pm

RALEIGH, NC (WWAY) — Police say a Bladen County native found dead in her Raleigh apartment earlier this month died of blunt force trauma.

According to investigators, on May 14th, Melissa Huggins- Jones’ bloody body was found by her 8-year-old daughter at their North Raleigh apartment. The young girl then sought help from construction workers in the complex.

Tuesday, Raleigh Police arrested 23-year-old Ronald Lee Anthony JR., 20-year-old Travian Devonte Smith, and 18-year-old Sarah Rene Redden, in Wake Forest, for the mother of two’s murder.

“Most people are killed by someone they know. The random murders are few, but they are the ones that frighten us the most,” Colon Willoughby, Wake County District Attorney said in his news release.

Police say Anthony has a criminal record which includes a felony and robbery with a dangerous weapon. They also say Smith was on probation for an unrelated charge at the time of the murder.

Some who know Redden say she is also a mother and they are shocked to learn of her alleged involvement.

“I was kind of surprised. I did not really think that someone I know could actually do that,” Steph Hershaft, a former classmate of Redden said.

Others said she has a temper.

“She just had this massive attitude sometimes and could be really scary,” Kaila Sammons, another former classmate and co-worker said.

Raleigh Police say they believe the crime is related to recent car break-ins occurring in that area.

Huggins-Jones would have turned 31 years old on Tuesday. She had moved to Raleigh from Tennessee two weeks before her death for a new job and a fresh start.

“She was just so dependable, trustworthy and outgoing. People gravitated to her because of her dynamic personality,” recalls Heather Mintz, a friend of Huggins-Jones.

(Information from The Associated Press was used in this report)

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22 Comments on "3 charged in Bladen County native’s murder; blunt force trauma cause of death"

2015 years 8 months ago

Here we go again. This story is on-going and testament to our courtroom behavior where violent criminals are placed BACK into the public mainstream when they have effectively demonstrated their intended behavior.

This is another case where the courts have failed to protect society and allowed a Felonious career criminal back on the street to commit murder. This beautiful woman was murdered by a 23 year old career criminal that just happened to decide he wanted her stuff and thought it was okay to take it.

Look at his record (remember, he’s only 23 years old):
Ronald Lee Anthony Jr.
Already spent ~3yrs in State Prison.
Ronald has 11 FELONY convictions to include 6 CONVICTIONS for ROBBERY with a dangerous weapon, 2 for Bomb threats, 2 for embezzlement and 1 for ID fraud.
5 misdemeanor convictions.

Seems to me that Ronald had fully demonstrated the intent he had to live his life and his propensity to destroy that of others. He committed enough violent crime to easily allow the judges and the DA’s to put him away for a very, very long time, but instead, he was placed back into society to commit MORE robbery and now…MURDER.

I’ve said this many times in the past. Until lifetime criminals like Ronald here are kept behind bars where they are under constant control, NO law, NO restrictions, NO background checks and NO bans of any sort will ever reduce gun-related violence!

My basic question of “Why is this proven, violent individual allowed to once again mingle among a law-abiding society?” is haunting and elusive.

Kris Christensen
2015 years 8 months ago

Eve Carson terrorized and shot in the back by two men in their teens on a joy ride to Chapel Hill, 12 year old Emily Haddock of Mt. Pleasant killed in a home invasion by five young men in 2007 as she lay home alone sick in bed, a young man recently killed in downtown Wilmington on break outside from his job, robbed for less than $30 by street thugs…. Is this just the way it is now and we have to accept it? These people are pampered in school when they act out, and when they quit, they are then free to go out and commit crimes for which they are put on probation until they escalate to murder for which some are still not charged to the fullest because they are under age. They know what they’re doing. They need to pass go, right straight to

2015 years 8 months ago

Why then has the NC Senate proposed a budget that closes prisons in Robeson, Sampson and Duplin counties?


Guest Timekeeper
2015 years 8 months ago

I see no mention in the story about a gun being used.

2015 years 8 months ago

if you recall, the Seventh Circle in Dante’s Inferno placed the condemmed neck deep in a firey mire.

The 3 counties you mentioned all have a significant number of hog farms with waste lagoons.

Why spend money on prisons when you can place these lowlifes neck deep in a lagoon with no escape or pardon.

Would serve as a wake up call for these types.

Or bring back public hangings for these types. That would be a real wake up call for all of the little street toughs.

2015 years 8 months ago

Our federal state and local governments have a horrible time managing money, ever notice that? We have plenty of money to support illegal aliens, entitlement recipients, world hunger, 3rd world country support, wars, saving the piping plover, the great horned owls, etc., but they can’t seem to take care of business at home. Total mismanagement. The same applies to the Department of corrections (why would they be any different?). They’re using the same methodology that’s been in place for decades that doesn’t work…proven. Always lacking, always broke, always needing more and more tax money to resolve the same issues that were never solved from the beginning. Not unlike the Social Security system, the IRS, Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, Medicare, DSS and a full host of others that are total, broke government envisioned failures they try to push off as successes. That’s all they will ever be and it’s only getting worse. Our own children’s education is always at risk and being cut. Care for our elderly is always at risk and being chopped on at every turn, but there’s plenty of money there for a bunch of useless “help” programs for those that are lazy, inept, crooked and that farm generations of others to take their place.

Tell ya what Vog, if we can get the peeps with the money to start spending it correctly, keep the criminals in prison, make prison a place they do not want to return to, you’ll begin to see a difference in the crime rate of this country. I don’t get to write the state or federal checks, I just pay the bills. For prison reform, remove the heat and A/C, remove the TV’s, remove the workout stations, put them in gunny-sack clothing and put their sorry asses to hard labor for 14 hrs a day. And for God’s sake stope the gangs from turning into prison empires running drug and crime rings behind prison walls. That needs to come to an immediate stop, but guess what? NOTHING ever happens, it continues! So there’s my answer and it’ll work. Keep the ACLU, the NAACP and the other worthless mamby-pamby organizations out of it and do what needs to be done. Prison isn’t supposed to be fun, but it appears to be for most. Make it what it is supposed to be, HELL! If they want to come back to that, then so be it…their choice.

Now my question to you AGAIN is: Why is a person with 11 violent felony convictions at age 23 allowed BACK into society to commit murder after ONLY a 3 yr stint in a minimum security prison? This happens every single day and it makes no sense to see the losses of innocent citizens lives due to the behavior of worthless and careless worms that care nothing about any human life but their own. I truly hope the judges and the DA’s that have been involved with this criminals lifelong cases have a difficult time getting their sleep and take a second thought at the procesess that allowed this woman to be murdered!

2015 years 8 months ago

While I can agree that repeat offenders seem to keep coming back it would appear as though this has been tried before and guess what? Crime continued on.
Guest you NAILED it with this comment:
” Make it what it is supposed to be, HELL! If they want to come back to that, then so be it…their choice.”
So at it’s core your argument still gives THEM the choice – you’re willing to take the CHANCE that the second offense will be no worse than the first.
So you see the problem even being “tough” on criminals allows for a second chance.
So now do we throw away the key on the first offense? Having never been a criminal Guest I can’t say whether that will do any good. Like you I also share the frustration that they get out so soon.
What nobody wants to face is that politicians, yes even the GOP, want so badly to cut costs that hey WILL release criminals early to repeat their exact thing.
I don’t want to politicize this but even conservative, tough on crime Republicans are forcing the state into a situation whereby the way to cut cost s boils down to early release of violent, felonious criminals.
You see GOM? It’s not JUST the Judiciary – now its the legislative branch too, and the Governor.
And “we” put them there to do exactly what they are doing under some belief that somehow they will be tougher on the criminal.
They are not.
They just use a different method, a different argument to justify their actions.
They are just as much at fault as the ACLU, and the NAACP.
So without provocation, we are closing 3 prisons. AT some point they will have to “early release” already incarcerated criminals so they can go out and do it again.
All under guise of “saving money” – no ACLU, no NAACP needed.
Tougher sentences will stop this?
Not if they’re cutting prison space at the same time…


2015 years 8 months ago

Yeah that’s easy but why would we insult Hogs like that? Who wants to associate with thugs? Certainly not hogs.
And now they’ll talk in Raleigh about privatizing prisons I’m sure.
Arizona is none too happy with that. Costs have gone higher than what THEY were paying.

We are right that prisoners are being released too early and I have no problem with making prisons “work places” either or have them become part of a mobile work force. Take away TV, the gym, etc.
You still have those same guys getting out, wanting to commit that same crime (or worse a bigger crime) again.
I don’ think there is a threshold whereby a criminal will say “I don’t want to go back there.” They seem to “want” to commit the crime even more.
Perhaps a public execution or two might be worth trying.
We have to do something….

2015 years 8 months ago

Everyone deserves a chance, two, perhaps 3 at the most. NOT TEN to FIFTEEN violent felony convictions and give them a state paid condo and free meal ticket for a measly 3 years. Geeez! What kind of deterrant is that? I write about these very same kinds of cases once a week in this tiny, relatively calm community we live in. Imagine the statewide and nationwide impplications the scope of this issue presents. How many people are robbed, raped, murdered or otherwise invaded by derelict criminals allowed to roam about? Every single day… Allowed to do so by the very people we elect to protect us from these criminals.

I don’t care who, what branch or what entity is cutting costs. My point is that our tax money is squandered and mis-appropriated purely for vote grabbing tactics. Politicians, (repubs and dems alike) don’t run for office to do good for the country OR the people anymore, they do it for themselves, the money, the perks, the handouts, the big-shot status and many other off-purpose reasons.

This country is due for a major overhaul. When we have the criminals and the lazy running our society, we’re in trouble! Guess what? We’re in trouble! Deep trouble!

2015 years 8 months ago

There’s one problem though GOM. Many of the convicted felons get multiple convictions for multiple crimes from the same incident. They then get prison time based upon a single incident and serve that time (concurrently).
So your multiple offender may have been to court only once but had 4 convictions.
We do need better sentencing guidelines.
But we can’t be closing prisons we need to be stuffing them.


2015 years 8 months ago

Yet the police continue to focus multi department stings where they round up tiny little blonde female 18 year old college students for simple possession charges. While violent criminals are released to kill again. We really need to refocus our resources to prevent real crime.

2015 years 8 months ago

. . . . I’ll finish it for you . . . HELL!

2015 years 8 months ago

I’m a convicted felon. Nothing violent but a drug possession charge and I was given the opportunity to complete drug court. I spent 82 days in county jail before for released and because of sanctions I spent e days before I completed. I remember jail and I never wanna go back again. The hardest part was staying off drugs since I have a vocation/trade I didn’t have to sorry about employment. But my record keeps me from good housing as well. No excuses, I’m not hitting nobody on the head, I’m not stealing from nobody and I’m not causing any trouble… When you break the law, you deserved to be punished, of course. But before release, inmates should be forced to go through some sort of exercise to show their emotional and physical reactions attu least…

2015 years 8 months ago

so there is no mention if this was a “hate” crime or just a crime?

2015 years 8 months ago

Naw, Einstein, he loved her. That was the reason he bashed her skull in and took her things. Are you intersted in discussing nuclear energy now?

2015 years 8 months ago

It’s horrible to see this beautiful, young woman, murdered by these savages. Like always, when the victim is white, not one peep out of the so-called “Hate Crime” advocates.

2015 years 8 months ago

This was some good police work.
Kudos to all involved.


2015 years 8 months ago

The woman was beaten to a bloody pulp and allowed to be discovered dead and covered in blood by her 8 yr old daughter. What part of VIOLENCE do you not understand?

With IDIOT criminals like this walking around free to rape, rob ans murder as they please, do you believe “gun control” legistlation will do any good? Geeez….

Guest Timekeeper
2015 years 8 months ago

Guest-O-Matic, I think you need to re-read the story. Nothing about a gun was mentioned. What are you babbling about?

2015 years 8 months ago

I understand the story completely Slimekeeper, you seem to have the comprehension skills issue going on.

This lady moved here two weeks ago with two young children. She was cruelly and violently murdered by being beaten to death by a 23 yr old, criminally infected piece of vermin with a very long history of very violent crime (including guns and bombs).

He shouldn’t have been out in society. This woman shouldn’t have been murdered and her little children deserve to ave a mother to grow up with.

Babbling? It’s a point that I’m making about our judicial system and our legislative process. Either go back to your crack pipe or re-enter the 4th grade and start over on building your comprehension abilities.

2015 years 8 months ago


2015 years 8 months ago

Well Mr Nuclear Energy specialist, could we first discuss how we went from

“Most people are killed by someone they know. The random murders are few, but they are the ones that frighten us the most,” Colon Willoughby, Wake County District Attorney said in his news release.”

to he loved her?? I just didn’t make that connection from he news article, do you know some inside info on this murder?