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Guilty verdict leads to emotional reactions

READ MORE: Guilty verdict leads to emotional reactions

WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) -- There was a dramatic reaction to today's verdict in the Anthony Pierce trial. Minutes after the jury found Pierce guilty of second-degree murder, the courtroom became emotional. The family of Ofc. Rich Matthews embraced one another and fellow officers.

After a 15-minute break, members of the Matthews family addressed the court. Matthews's father wanted to make it clear that Wilmington police officers were not acting like vigilantes, but are men and women risking their lives to protect us. Mrs. Matthews told the court she dreams of a world that's free of crime. Rich Matthews's brother Chris spoke last.

"Nothing that was decided here today will bring our brother back and my parents' son back," he said. "However, today you do have the opportunity to make sure that this individual who has spent 10 years in prison already and has elevated from robbing people and taking them hostages unarmed in a convenience store to robbing armed drug dealers, that he spend the rest of his living days in incarcerated prison."

Judge Phyllis Gorham sentenced Pierce to eight to 20 years in prison. Pierce took the news quietly, but was obviously rattled, and so was his family, who declined to talk to us on camera.

Though the Matthews family didn't say much to us, District Attorney Ben David says the family is grateful to the law enforcement community and the community at large for all their support.

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.


Pierce trial

Once again I am embarrassed to be a member of this community. The only person more dumb then those 12 jurors is the judge for allowing a trail to be conducted in such a manner. Anthony Pierce deserves a fair punishment, but his actions had nothing to do with anyone's death that night. Ofc. Rich Matthews' response was stupid and irresponsible, sadly he paid the price.

Congratulations Wilmington for once again taking accountability away from the Police force and blaming a "scum bag." Until more just and intelligent people are elected and employed within the local governments we can count on my more ignorant and illegal actions by our public officials.

This verdict was NOT justice

This verdict was NOT justice and sure to be overturned in a higher court adn this thug will love the attention and 'martyrdom' bestowed upon him. I am surprised Judge Gorham allowed her emotions to rule. Second degree murder implies intention and/or obvious lack of concern for human life. I feel for his family but the officer showed just as much an obvious lack of concern for human life in an over-reactive response to BACKUP (not help or officer down or in trouble) as the common criminal did and, unfortunately, taking responsibility for HIS lack of responsibility/concern cost him his life.


I do believe that Pierce belongs in jail for the crimes he has committed but he is not guilty of the crime of murder of Matthews. The officer caused his own death by driving so fast he was unable to control his vehicle when the box blew across the road in front of him. I find it hard to believe that the jury cannot separate the crime from an accident.

I bet....

I bet his family didn't have much to say. The money he supplied to them from dealing drugs is gone. All the fancy electronics, the cars, the clothes, the weed, and the crack all gone. I say gone, but that may just be for the time being until another person in the family can take his place dealing and stealing. It's ashame a good officer had to lose his life because of this scum. The fight goes on to rid the streets of vermin like Pierce

What do u know about this

What do u know about this man's family just because he lived his life as a drug dealer doesn't mean the whole family is one. we as people need to get our facts straight before we go running our mouths. This is a bad situation for everyone involved. I'm so glad that GOD is not like man, because if he was i'm quite sure there are things in your life which you would perhaps like to leave in the past. And by the way i'm not a criminal just a woman who's going to pray for both families.

I hope the Matthews family

I hope the Matthrews family will be very happy now that an innocent man has been sentenced to prison. Pierce is a criminal for sure but he did not MURDER officer Matthews. Emotion gave them this verdict they so wanted. This is not justice or the way the justice system should work. It will be over turned on appeal.

Guilty verdict

Now you need to find the person who left the box in the road. Driving 80, 90, or more miles an hour is just as dangerous for law enforcement as it is for the rest of us.

Anthony Pierce should definitely be punished for the crimes he committed, but not for the police officer's accident.

What if he had an accident on his way home after Anthony Pierce was arrested. Well, I guess if he hadn't been at the incident he would have taken another way home and got home safely, right?