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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.

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Where did you get your information?

The fleeing vehicle was not speeding? It was going 65 mph through a neighborhood whose speed limit is 25 mph. Not only were they tossing pot out the window like it was candy, but they also threw a loaded handgun out the window. Maybe the totally and completely UNBIASED (haha) media "edited" that part out. The idiots had just stolen drugs & money from other drug dealers and were trying to outrun them BECAUSE THEY WERE BEING SHOT AT. Why do you think the original officer was trying to stop them? Because it was 1 a.m. and they weren't speeding and they were using their turn signals? I can't and won't say anything about Officer Matthews and whether his speed was appropriate or not, but I just thought you might like to know what kind of sleezebags were being stopped. Not just some high school kids with a little weed. And it could have been anyone's neighborhood.

The point being

"I can't and won't say anything about Officer Matthews and whether his speed was appropriate or not, but I just thought you might like to know what kind of sleezebags were being stopped. Not just some high school kids with a little weed. And it could have been anyone's neighborhood." I never said the people being stopped were not alleged criminals. In fact, I don't care what kind of people were in the car. Point being, no one in that vehicle murdered Officer Matthews. End of story.

OK JohnRPublic

And I never said anyone in the car did murder anyone. I was trying to let you know that the portion of your post that said "let's look at the facts" was not exactly accurate. This obviously is a very divisive issue and people on both sides feel very strongly about it. The only thing I can say for sure is that these criminals deserve to go to jail, whatever you want to charge them with. And I know that they did contribute to the officer's death -- if they hadn't been running away, he wouldn't have been called as back up. At the same time, I know that the officer's speed contributed to his death. I can't even say how I would have voted had I been on that jury because I can see both sides. The DA's office sure does have a big uphill battle ahead of them, though...


"And I never said anyone in the car did murder anyone"- GuestWho That is correct. I am sorry if I conveyed in any way that you said that. I was merely reaffirming my belief in them not murdering the officer. My humblest apologies on that point. Also, at the time I posted the original message, I was using the facts given to the public. Due to further news updates, obviously, the facts have changed. Thanks for the fact check.

100 MPH?

I am all for getting as much rift raft off our streets as the next person but once I saw that officer Matthews was traveling 100mph I have to say that he is the most responsible party for the tragic events that happened that evening. I have been racing cars for the last 15 years, and am also an instructor at weekend high performance driving schools. At these closed track events it is very common to see speeds in excess of 100mph, and I have as much experience as anybody with the potential perils at these speeds. That being said there is absolutely no place within Wilmington city limits that is safe for those speeds. I don't care if you are a Police Officer responding to a back call or a somebody without a license driving drunk on your motorcycle at 2am in the morning on Eastwood rd. Not only was officer Matthews putting his life at risk going that speed in such a densely populated area he was also greatly compromising the safety of the public at large. If you question this then just ask yourself how you felt when you first heard about the story I referenced above about the kid on the motorcycle that hit the cab and then reverse the roles.

Acutally 102 MPH

I feel bad for the officer and family that lost his life. But going 102 MPH is way to fast,LEO, are hired to protect and serve. He was not in the chase. If another car had been crossing in front of the trees that Officer Mathews hit, there could been more lifes lost. Not worth the risk going at 102, for something that mite happen. I don't think it is right to charge the man for murder, this is revenge only.

Sad facts of matter

Pierce should not be charged with murder. The officer was going too fast.A scapegoate is being made, because someone must pay for this horrible tragedy.

I just want to let everyone

I just want to let everyone know who is out there passing the blame on the Officer that you are all right. Its all the fault of the law enforcement. We should let all the bad guys get away with what ever thay want. It would make our town so much better. So what, it was just "weed". Its not bad right? Who cares if he sells it to your kid or my kid. Its just "Pot". But hey Its just "coke, Crack, LSD, Meth" who cares let them sell there drugs to our childern so they can become addicted and die. The economy is bad let them make there money. Criminals are people too!!! So they dont pay taxes, milk the system, rob, steal, cheat, kill. Is that all really that bad. You are all idiots. I wish we could go one day without LEO and see how much you want us then!!!!

Blue Flu

I got an idea on how to save the government money, just do away with law enforcement completely.

Soapbox Derby Racer

100 mph is fast, but at 1 am on a 3 lane empty straight a way, its nothing...unless there is a box laying in the road. We all take a risk when operating a motor vehicle. Some weather conditions make it dangerous to drive at any speed and yet Market Street will be bumper to bumper in the pouring rain. 16 yr olds on the roadway are dangerous and yet we give them drivers licenses. Yes 100 mph is very fast, but some old 85 year old lady driving 25 can be just as dangerous. And don't get me started on the bike riders and moped drunk bike traffic hazards.