make WWAY your homepage  Become a fan on facebook  Follow us on twitter  Receive RSS Newsfeeds  MEMBERS: Register | Login

Anthony Pierce charged with second-degree murder for Officer Matthews' death

READ MORE: Anthony Pierce charged with second-degree murder for Officer Matthews' death
After two days of testimony and deliberation, a New Hanover County grand jury has indicted Anthony Pierce on murder charges in connection with the death of Wilmington police officer Rich Matthews. The charges are second-degree murder under the intent of malice. On top of felony charges of fleeing to elude arrest, Pierce was charged with possession and intent to sell and deliver marijuana, and possession of a firearm. "We are very pleased to take this case forward, and if we have to fight to make precedent in this state, frankly we believe this is a fight worth having,” said District Attorney Ben David. Second-degree murder charges are now a reality for Anthony Pierce. It took the grand jury two days of hearing testimony and asking questions to reach this decision. "It's our job to present the facts, and we leave it to the grand jury to decide what the facts are, and anytime they can come up with a decision on that, we are pleased with that,” said Corporal Joseph Fitzgerald of the WPD. Second-degree murder charges under "implied malice" means the state will claim Pierce intentionally engaged in reckless behavior to put another life at risk. In this case, that life was officer Rich Matthews. The prosecutor’s theory is, if Anthony Pierce had stopped for the officers pursuing him, they wouldn't have needed to call for back up. A 25-page brief written by DA Ben David stated Matthews was traveling about 100 miles per hour when he crashed on his way to assist other officers. The brief outlines other important facts in the case, all which were compiled by officers like Corporal Fitzgerald who helped with the reconstruction of the accident. Pierce made his first appearance in court today since the new charges. His bond was set at $750,000. Judge Gessner appointed Walter Smith from the Public Defender's Office to represent Pierce in this case.

Disclaimer: Comments posted on this, or any story are opinions of those people posting them, and not the views or opinions of WWAY NewsChannel 3, its management or employees. You can view our comment policy here.


no dolt

No, no made up words. Every one of them can be found in the Webster’s Dictionary. I even used small words you should be able to understand. Guess I was wrong. My character is much more stellar than you could ever hope to be. Just remember JRP, the laughter you hear are not people laughing with you, but at you.


Aww, do your parents know you are on the internet past 8? I hope so. You have to be 12 to resort to that level of immaturity. I'll state once again, Your character shines through loud and clear.

I know you, Public

I think I may have treated you when you stayed in our mental ward!

sure do

Yep, they sure do. The real question is does your handler knows you have been on the Internet by yourself? I'm thinking you have been sitting much too close to your screen. Try to get some sunshine and a grip on life.


"Try to get some sunshine and a grip on life."- guesty Says the alleged adult who still believes in fairy tales.

Don't you worry

Yep, I do believe in God (since you call that a fairy tale) and sit well fully believing you will end up paying dearly for your remarks. Now you like to try to belittle me but yet you keep coming back for more... Guess you are not as grown as you think you are.


Why do you keep going back and forth with Guesty? You are putting yourself on the same level here.....

Good Point

Not sure Mikki. I should have realized a while back that you cannot have an intelligent conversation with people like him. But, I digress

...and just because someone

...and just because someone DOESN'T believe it doesn't mean it ISN'T true either.

lock up the thug and throw away the key!

drug dealing, no good, worthless thug. So glad we're finally waking up and making these dirtbags be responsible for their actions. Lets send a message to these cowards that we have had enough! His actions were a direct reason for the death of the officer, this loser had ZERO regard for anyone else's life but his own. Rot in prison and stay off our streets!

lock up the thug and throw away the key

This man is someone's son, he was eluding police for marijuana,which shouldn't be illegal in the first place. If he had been robbing,raping,or doing someone harm, your comment may be true. People smoke of their own accord. The policeman's death is what is driving this case. The pursuit of someone for marijuana should not have even been happening. Laws on Marijuana are so antiquated. Liquors and beers should be illegal, they cause more bad behavior than any amount of marijuana ever could. See things clearly.

Just because you use

Just because you use marijuana on a daily basis does not mean it should be legal. And he wasn't eluiding police just for marijuana. He is a convicted felon, had felony amount of marijuana, and had a weapon in his vehicle. Add to the fact that just robbed someone else with that weapon. That is why he ran, not just because of the marijuana. And you obvioulsy don't know anything about the side affects or how marijuana affects your body if you think it should be legal. And being legal or illegal isn't a valid point in this arguement. LEO have a responsibility to uphold the law whether they agree with that particular law or not


You are welcome and stay tuned for more to come.

Who cares.. Lock em all up!

Who cares? Yes it seems weighted to LEO.. But if it gets a pot dealer with a gin off the street.. Who cares.. Get em off the street... If no one had died he would have gotten probation and been back on the streets doing the same thing... I hope they throw this dope man under the jail... What about all of the lives he has effected from his dope dealing? That should be deadly assault charge... This is clean up at its best... Regardless of the cops death (sorry for your loss) I'm glad this scum is off the street.... The longer he can serve in prison for dope the better off my kids are growing up here. Too bad they couldn't get a first degree on him... But they need to do it to all of them.. Not just one because a cop dies.. It shows how bioas this city is.. Still the good ol boys down there, huh... Treat us the same and you will get the respect you deserve....

who cares, lock em all up

Would you rather your child be able to get some legal Vodka or beer or something to make his judgement really be bad. After a person has ingested marijuana, their chances of doing something dangerous and violent go way down. There is nothing wrong with marijuana except the outdated laws that keep it illegal, and cause an officer to take off at 100 mph to go catch the crooks. Lawmakers need to take a look at the lawbooks and outlaw evil spirits such as bourbon, vodka, gin, etc.

yeah, lets outlaw liquor.

yeah, lets outlaw liquor. worked real well when they did it in the 1920's.

But murder?

Based on the information available at present, it will be difficult to convince members of a jury to convict this man on the murder charges. Manslaughter, maybe. But murder? C'mon! I feel the case has been compromised by this charge of murder and it also makes the other charges, of which the perp could probably be convicted, seem less important!

I say lock him up!

I say lock him up! Drug dealers are scum and poison our community. I'd love to see all of them behind bars!!! But murder is not one of the things this person should be charged with. It's just not right. Yes the officer would not have been asked to respond if not for this guy running, but at the same time he shouldn't have been going that fast. I hate it for his family, and it is such a loss for the WPD and our community. Unfortunately the truth hurts sometimes, and in this case BOTH are to blame, involuntary mansl. YES, murder NO. We have to be consistant with our laws, and this is nothing more than trying to make an example out of someone to prove a point. Do I want a quick response to an emergency, ABSOLUTELY, does it take too long sometimes, yes sometimes, but do I want officers & rescue to put themselves & others on the road in harms way so they can get there faster? ABSOLUTELY NOT! The problem has never been the speed at which they respond (because honestly most of them speed when there's NOT an emergency), it's usually because there's not enough officers to go around. This guy deserves as much time as we can pin on him, and I hope its a very very long time, but not for murder. Did he set out to cause harm, YES. Did he set out to murder this officer, NO.

I can't believe it....

I CANNOT BELIEVE THAT ALL OF YOU ARE WILLING TO DEFEND THIS PIG THAT WAS ARMED AND LEADING AN OFFICER ON A CHASE...Are you real? Don't you see what kind of precident this could set for the future? Are you THAT stupid? Look at the big picture. Unless you want to see the return of vigilante justice, coming soon to a neighborhood near you, get your head out of your ----- and shut up!!!!

They will do it

Fools will defend criminals like Pierce all day long. They don't care if someone has died at their hand either. The bleeding hearts would have us scrap the police and sherrif's departments and sit in a circle and hold hands so they can feel good about themselves. Coddling criminals is garbage but so are the cxriminals. How about lets just take out the garbage and be done with all the coddling.

Officer speeding

How is it that other officers were in pursuit also and they went around the box in the road and did not crash????? Yes it is sad that this officer died in the line of duty but come on we cant blame someone for his mistakes, what if a child or elderly person was in the road walking would the officer been charged if he had hit them...everyone seen the video and seen he was driving wreckless because the officer that was right behind him went around the box also and did not go cross the road and everyone was going to assist that other officer so instead of saying it was Pierce fault for the death just admit that them boys in the blue do make mistakes...if he was going to assist in a the case where someone had a heartattack and this happened would the heartattack patient be charged with murder...come on this is silly in that case charge the other two non african americans with accessory.......

What box

Did you see the video from the officer behind him? If so you might want to look at it again (I have) and see if you see a box (I don't). But then again you are one of the ones who thinks the Cops are always in the wrong.

time, check it

The officer responding to the crash was almost 10 min behind Matthews. If you listen to the video Matthews hit the box, it may have been under his car or tossed off the side. Maybe you are wrong.

Get it Right

Officer Matthews was not in the pursuit. He was on his way to the pursuit. There is a difference. There were no other cars ahead of him on Shipyard. The pursiut was on Oleander and College At the time Officer Matthews swerved to miss that box. So of course the patrol car BEHIND him saw him swerved and noticed the box BECAUSE HE swerved. Naturally they had a heads up that Officer Matthews did not. Geeze, detectives you guys are not.

get it right?

The officer that responded to his crash was 10 min behind him.... look at the clocks on the videos. She also called the crash in almost 10 min after the wreck......Was there a car right behind him?? Somehow I doubt that because they would have STOPPED immediately (commonsense). If you watch the video in full screen and carefully near the point the 2nd officer is about to turn left into the median you will see part of the box off to the right because Matthews HIT the box and you can clearly hear that too. She turned into the median past where he went off road. Detective you are?


You are right! That's a good way to look at it!

Pierce indicted on murder charge in police officer's death

It is always a shame when a young person dies, especially while in uniform, but please let us have have some common sense. Murder? The officer and at least three other officers traveling over 100 MPH to capture pot dealers. The officer lost control of his vehicle, while driving too fast and maneuvering to miss a box. Bad judgement on the officer's part cost him his life and likely bad training on WPD part on when it's appropriate to push the risk-reward equation. When do we stop blaming others for decisions that are our own responsibility. There are situations that the this law was written for and this is an inappropriate attempt to try stretch both the "letter and the intent" of the law. Pierce's indicted on murder charge will not bring the young Officer Matthews back, nor will it send a signal to "felons" to stop criminal behavior. It will only put us a slipper slope with the law, and cost the taxpayer more money. In either case, I will not feel that justice has been served!

While living in South Korea,

While living in South Korea, a friend of mine was in his car, stopped for a red light.  A drunk Korean lady ran into the back of his car, jumped out of the car and ran away.  My friend was given a ticket by the LEO for being the cause of the accident.  Logic - the lady was born in Korea and had a right to be there.  My friend was in the military and wasn't born there.  If he had stayed home (in America) there would have been no accident.  Anyway, Pierce was involved in the execution of a criminal act that resulted in the death of the officer.  If he didn't commit the crime, there would have been no death!  GUILTY, send him to jail!

This is crazy

Will you people please think about this how can you charge this man with murder? Was the officer in the actual chase? Or was he on the way and nowhere near the other cops? This man was charged with possesion with intent to sell/deliver but yet he threw out a big enough box full of drugs that the officer had to swerve to miss it. If that box was full of weed why was he not charged with conspiracy to sell drugs which carries a stricter sentence of 5 to about 20 years in prision instead a lesser of charge which means he probaly had a couple dime bags of weed worth about 30 dollars and since it was packeged in two or three seperate bags they can charge him with a felon someone please answer this I doubt the big box that he had to swerve from came from that man vehicle Where there drugs in the box if so a big enough box like that means he must of had pounds of weed in it and all they did was just charge him with possession with intent to sell/deliver!!!!!!! p.s if he was a murderer dont you think he would of shot the gun at the cops!!!!! this man should not be charged with murder MY PERSONAL OPINION dont be mad at me, inform me!!!!!!

I thought so too...

I don't really understand this either. Let me just start with condolences to the family of the deceased officer. I know that the first emotion in the death of a loved one is to find out why and punish who or what you think is the reason. I really do understand that-everybody does. That being said- I don't really "get" why a traffic accident is this guys fault. The officer avoided a box in the street. We've all seen the video by now. And sadly he ran into a tree and that crash killed this officer. The box may have been from this guy. Okay, still I'm sure he didn't have the forethought to place the box of who-knows-what in just the right place to make Officer Matthews crash. It just doesn't seem premeditated. Wouldn't this be a different type of charge like accidental death or something like that. And that's my opinion...just saying.