FIRST ON 3: Pierce found guilty of second degree murder; sentenced to 8 - 20 years
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WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) -- A New Hanover County jury has returned a guilty verdict on second-degree murder against Anthony Pierce. The jury also found him guilty on two counts of a felon possessing a gun, possession of marijuana with intent to sell and guilty of evading arrest resulting in death.

Before the trial, legal experts had said a guilty verdict on second-degree murder would be precedent-setting in North Carolina.

Prosecutors argued by leading Wilmington police on a high-speed chase early on the morning of Feb. 18, 2009, his actions led to the death of Ofc. Rich Matthews. Matthews was responding as back-up to the pursuit when he swerved to avoid a box in the middle of Shipyard Blvd. and crashed his cruiser into some trees. He died from his injuries.

WWAY has reporters at the courthouse covering this story. We will have much more tonight on WWAY NewsChannel 3 starting at 5 p.m.

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I read on the WCNC earlier today that a criminal fleeing from the law wrecked and killed an innocent elderly lady. He has been charged with murder.

In reply to ALL postings on this account: Opinion does not matter. What you think does not matter. I am studying law and what DOES matter, is the law. Murder is automatically a preconception to the fact that it was intentional. The officer that died, it was not his fault. Was it Peirce's fault? Indirectly, yes. No chase= no bad driving+ no crash (no death). However, the fact remains that the officer died indirectly due to the chase. Technically that dirtbag Peirce Should have been charged and convicted of man slaughter in the 1st degree, being indirectly, but still responsible for the officers death as a result of his fleeing and the chase. It was not intentional. Had Peirce put a gun to the officers head and pulled the trigger it would be 1st degree murder, intentional. The fact is was convicted of 2nd degree murder is bulls**t. If any of you rednecks or thugs for that matter had ever studied law or read, or even looked at the US Supreme Court cases that set the precidence for the laws of our country, the punishment should fit the crime. Man slaughter is accidental and murder is not.; Straight and simple. I understand everyones anger at Peirce because of all this but there is a difference beteween right and wrong. This man deserves a VERY HARSH sentence but not for murder. I am from thirty minutes south of Wilmington and have traveled there a lot with my family. I am in the United States Army and am against discrimination and currently studying Criminal Justice and Homeland Security. Just so you know, I am Caucasian. Thats white for those of you who are slow. Lol. Also, off subject, black or african-american is incorrect. You are AMERICANS of african descent. African-american would show that you are from Africa with American citizenship. If you were born in the US you are American. Now, I believe the families of the Officer who was killed in the accident would want justice. Im sure they, and everyone else, are angry at Peirce. But I think the Officer and his family would would want justice to be served like it says, "Just" and right. Peirce is a dirtbag but he doesnt deserve murder. Murderers should be put to death and made to suffer jsut like pedophiles, but he did not mean nor intend for the officer to die.

....how very nice of you to state your opinion and the fact that you are studying law. From my viewpoint, you have a LOT of studying yet to do!!! Pierce was convicted by the New Hanover County District Attorney under the guies of the Judge and by 12 of his piers so chosen to do so. All that I see from your comments is no more than "opinion" as you state it and not a very well prepared one at that...seeing as you ARE studying law. You refer to the previous posters as "thugs", "rednecks" and even "slow" as you attempt to clarify what an "African-American" really is....
Well, I'm here to tell you Mr Bigshot law-studying idiot, learn how to punctuate, learn how to spell and learn a little respect for what others have to say before poking your big bad cyber chest out to lambast everyone here, because you don't know crap about crap (and I'm being "nice" here!)!!! Pierce is in prison (again) and has likely already met Bubba at least 3 nights now with many more to come before ANY appeal even gets started.

So Mr Matlock wannabe, study hard on your Homeland Security and Criminal Justice course studies and someday you may break out of the buck seargent rank...maybe, I said. In the meantime, we will continue to rely on those that are educated in and that practice Criminal Law to administer the fate to criminals of our society.

To clarify, I was NOT referring to Americans of African descent as slow or otherwise. I am referring to the stereotypical white or black people that are on here thinking they are overly righteous, not describing blacks in particular. There is a difference. As for my punctuation, I am typing as I would be speaking it. I am not attempting to have perfect grammer in my typing. Also, I was talking with some colleages of mine on this topic and reading the other comments posted after mine and they were correct and I was not as to the definition of murder. I have been set straight. It is a good point as to the way he was convicted. What I mean to say about this mutliple conviction felon, is that even with a jury of his peers I believe he did not purposefully cause harm to anyone during this particular incident. It should definately be taken into account of his prior history as well. I don't particularly think that he needed to be convicted of murder though but when I think about the points that were brought to my attention, I see that it could definately swing either way. Some interesting points were brought up as to the judge in relation to the time frame of the trial and how it was conducted. Also, on the comment from the idiot that was talking about people in the military, and how they signed up as if its ok for them or Officers to die, screw you. I hope you say that out loud around a Vet or Law enforcement. You have no idea about the sacrifices we make for your sorry a** and the freedoms that you get to enjoy everyday that we give up. I fight and I do my job so a**holes like you dont have to. I do it for my family and for yours. I do it for those who are unwilling and those who are unable alike. I do it because if we didn't have a military who is to stop someone else from taking over the US. Although, I would love to see someone like the russians invade the southern states.... do you have any idea how many rednecks(Im one) and thugs, and whoever would come out of the wood work....LOL. Even the person who just chewed my a** on here obviously has some military background and knows what Im talking about.

Good for you and Thank you for your service in allowing "WE" American's to stay fat, drive our fancy cars and talk out of both sides of our mouths!!!

My son and daughter just got back, with my other daughter going back this week to Kandahar.
I am so glad to know there are other sane people out there that live in New Hanover County!!!

God Bless You!!!

The definition of 2nd degree murder is a death which results from an assault which is likely to cause death.To prove murder in the second degree, the state must establish that the perpetrator committed the killing with malice.

Do you think this fits? What happened is a tragedy but we cannot charge someone with something they did not commit. He has plenty of other crimes to go to jail for.

This may seem okay cause he is a bad dude. But what if this happens to you or an innocent person?? It is a terrible precedent.

This is absolutely absurd. The police are given response and high-speed pursuit training. Officer Matthews hadn't even joined the active pursuit when his accident occured. It is up to the individual police officer responding to determine their response. It was Officer Matthews that chose an irresponsible speed with which to respond. A speed that made him incapible of avoiding a box on the road in a controlled manner.

There are a million "What ifs". But my first paragraph is the bottom line. This is not a trial over who is a better person. There is no question I'd rather have Matthews as my neighbor. But Matthews is simply responsible for his own death.

So if Matthews had been responding to a call and you needed him would you had wanted him, and the many other WPD officers, to go 45-55 mph. This is the safety of the city we are talking about. They respond to all call in a speedy manner everything from a break in to a fire alarm. I am happy that we have great men and women on the force protecting our city. When that man speed to avoid the police he took it into his hands that whatever happened he and his friends were responsible for. Sorry but Officer Matthews was doing a great job and has no fault in this.

Isn't it funny how the law works. Hasn't been that long ago a New Hanover Duputy opened fire on a closed door and Killed an 18 year old boy armed with a Playstation 3,and no charges were filed against the Deputy. But know we have a man being convicted of murder for throwing out a box that indirectly lead to death of a police officer due to a high speed crash. I never knew littering could hold such high consiquences.

First off the kid you are referring to had a violent criminal past and had posted public pictures of himself holding various firearms trying to be "ganster." And secondly the officer was swerving to miss the box thrown out into the road and that is what caused him to crash. Had the subject not been running from police there would have been no accident.

The most sensible thing I've read on this board is that they should find out who left the box in the road and charge them with murder; if the family wants true closure perhaps they should investigate privately...

At the same time the state should consider way tougher penalties for evading arrest. With such a potential for loss of innocent life, it should be 20 yrs minimum, and the cops should be allowed to beat you down publicly.

he made his bed now he should sleep in it. i think the sentence is not good enough he should get life. the drugs he was selling could have killed more than we know. my prayers go out to Officer mathews family and to everyone else what if this happened to your son, brother or friend?

First off just because someone is a drug dealer, that does not automatically make them a killer.

Secondly, marijuana has never been the sole contributing factor to any death. EVER!! Illegal drugs contribute to less then 20,000 deaths in the US each year. If you really want to complain about something, complain about the 500,000 that die from cigarettes in this country annually. And that’s legal.

And lastly I have had a very similar situation happen in my family. It has shaped every view I have since it happened when I was so young. This officer, just like my dad, made a mistake. A mistake that they both paid the ultimate price for. As bad as that might sound or as much as people don’t want to hear that, it is the truth. Im sorry that this situation happened but instead of convicting someone of a 2nd degree murder that they are not responsible for, we need to stress to everyone(esp. our kids) how quickly something can go wrong behind the wheel.(even if you have gone through training for high speed driving, like most law enforcment does)And how that can ultimately change yours or someone else’s life forever.

Its situations like this that hopefully will make people realize that: ANY TIME YOU GET BEHIND THE WHEEL OF A CAR TO GO ANYWHERE, YOU MIGHT NOT BE GETTING BACK OUT UNDER YOUR OWN POWER

my thoughts go to the officers kids if he had any

the system has failed again

....this type of punishment hasn't been applied MORE!!!

Obviously, WPD needs to teach their cops how to drive. Am I the only one that sees cops speeding when not on call? They can spend all this money on Chargers and Mustangs, but cant teach them how to drive at the speeds they can maintain. Funny how fast they respond to a guy with weed in their car, but there are sex offenders and robbers runnin the streets. Once you are convicted as a felon, you cant make it in the world. Most have no choice but to turn to the drug game. Not like anyone else will hire them. The legal system is screwed up. What about all these rich people that smoke weed? Wont ever hear about them because they have the money to keep their habbit a secret.

I'd just like to add to my previous post when I stated that the officer died because he was driving at an excessive speed. The policewoman following him down Shipyard Blvd. was driving at a reasonable speed and lived to see another day. That should speak for itself.

First off, I support law enforcement totally. I do however agree that this case will be overturned. There is something called personal responsibilty that we as a society have forgotten to teach new generations.

To all of the LEOS out there in wild support of Mr. David, please remember that technically he was due to be running for re-election at this very moment. Whether right or wrong, remember he tried to convict one of your own just a few years ago for carrying out a functon of his job. Mr. David burned a lot of bridges in LEO at that time and I am sure this was a very calculated decision on his part to, one try this case himself instead of letting his team handle it and two, try this case at this time. Will he be for you or against you when your time comes?

All Mr. David cares about, his brother too, is having their face on TV. They are very good politicans however they are just that. All he wants is to have his name tied to this decision.

Anyone who thinks this fool Pierce didn't have something to do with Officer Matthews death is either a moron, a criminial, or both. When he ran that night it started a chain reaction of events. A felon with drugs and a weapon has to be taken off the streets. Several people have said why didn't they just go to his house and get him? Do you really think he would go home being wanted like that. Criminals help criminals and that network is alive and well in Wilmington as you can see from alot of the post on this site. When he ran all the police knew is that someone who was dangerous was at large ready to do who knows what to who ever just to stay out of jail. Plenty of you people have played the race card and even more of you have played the dumb card when it comes to this scum. I really didn't think that many morons could live in Wilmington but I guess I was wrong.

What is now merely subtle racism embedded in present-day Wilmington's culture helps explain the cheering crowd gushing with joy for the DA Office and their over-carriage of justice in the Pierce case. Let it be clear that while horrified by the performance of the DA and the judge and the jury, I join the many who feel that Pierce deserves tough time for the crimes he committed. Of course, the weed he was throwing out of his car window is illegal, nearly ironic in a state which built so many fortunes and so much political power through the still very legal cultivation and sale of a far more addictive and deadly weed than pot.

Pierce just shouldn't have been charged with 2nd degree murder. You got a jury to go with "guilty" but imagine if it was a white college kid from Cape Fear COuntry Club neigborhood. The DA would never have gone "there" with his big reach with the law, going where no DA in state history had ever gone before.

In stark contrast, the same DA office which so over-reached to nail Pierce on 2nd degree murder went in a very different direction with their handling of the six-year long criminal conspiracy Rusty Carter directed by passing nearly $2000K in improper donations to state and local officials, including BOTH the current and former governors. Yet despite the length of time since this story first broke, to when Mr. Carter finally got himself heavily-lawyered up to sort of/kind of admit to his semi-guilt, his team of lawyers here and in Raleigh were able to craft for him a special plea, a nominal fine, and a suspended sentence. Sort of like a speeding ticket on I-40...just make it go away. What does this say about our DA and the integrity of his office??!! This week the eyes of the state are once again upon dysfunctional Wilmington, a region notable for the ever-growing list of local leaders and their scandals, who willfully have themselves (and all of us!)locked in a time warp (mid-1950's??) with their uniquely "too interconnected to fail" culture they continue to demonstrate via their cocky disregard for ethics and the law. They are dismissive of the laws and rules of conduct that get in the way of their backroom machinations (the whole Titan fiasco will be the next shoe to drop and prove improper conduct of another group of "honorable men"---the individuals on the County Board (and county manager) which executed and voted on the big payolla to Titan were the same men who fostered the culture where these men felt they were above the laws, not to mention slimy and unethical. It's a criminal enterprise if you ask me, with so many characters moving on and off the stage (Billy "Lotto Winner" Williams, the ABC Board, the elected officals who let this nonsense go down on their watch, Lanny Wilson, Rusty Carter, etc.) that our DA and team SHOULD get their acts together and try to break through the organized (subtle) corruption that dominates the mindset and culture of so many of our so-called leaders and the disparate, often non-transparent organizations they lead.
In light of the DA's lack of guts to clean up this nonsense, I hope the media has the courage to dig dig dig on these people and their actions, because until this culture and the bad actors keeping it alive are fully exposed, Wilmington cannot fully join the 21st century. It kills our "image enhancement" efforts underway since 2006 with only a host of scnadals to show for it!

Asst DA Tom Old spoke to the press following Carter's deal was cut, and went out of his way to praise Mr. Carter for being an honorable man, for admitting his "mistakes"--though not pleading guilty because even when caught red-handed these guys still are entitled to cook the books! (The DA office praised this "honorable man", neglecting the siz years this frat brother of Gov Easley willfully disregarded the rules to help secure "power" assignments for his wife and himself. Yuck guys. Clean it up!

You're right. The DA probably wouldn't have "gone there" had the offender been a "white college kid from Cape Fear COuntry Club neigborhood". The "white college kid from Cape Fear COuntry Club neigborhood" most likely wouldn't have had the past criminal record of shooting at Philadelphia Police Officers, and therefore, the "implied malice" needed for a 2nd degree murder charge wouldn't have existed!!!! You can "what if" this sh&* all day long, but the fact of the matter is Pierce is a piece of sh@*, and was attempting to escape from being apprehended by police ONCE AGAIN! And ANY illegal drug is a dangerous drug...you must be smoking it to think that it's any less dangerous than crack or heroin. Just because its not addictive doesn't meant that it's not deadly. Case in point.

If you are implying that "white college kids from country clubs" don't commit crimes, I suggest you look up some of the statistics of date rape, alcoholic binge drinking, and fraternity hazing crimes that are prevalent through out this nation's universities. Just because a criminal record is swept under the table because daddy has some money doesn't mean that the crime wasn't committed. The punishment is supposed to fit the crime. This man was not guilty of 2nd degree murder. Second degree manslaughter MAYBE, but even that is a stretch. The facts are the facts. It is tragic that an officer was killed but that does not change the fact that the laws and application of justice have been designed in a way to protect citizans from excessive punishment and undo prosecution. This is a perversion of the law.

IT should have been 1st Degree Murder and they should have shoved a needle in his arm and killed while his family was made to watch.

Charles are you kidding what kinda moron are you? Make his family watch. The officers family didn't see the accident for one. For two the officer was the only one who made the decision he did that night. He was driving way to fast for that road. Have you driven down Shipyard at all since you live here? Plus, who died and made you God, Judge, and Jury? Is it not written Thou Shalt Not Judge? Maybe you need to get off the computer and spend your time in a better place,UMMMMM let's seee maybe CHURCH?

I don't think you understood who should watch what. Pierce's family should watch him be put to death for Officer Matthews death. Again I say the charge should have been 1st degree murder.

actually, his family did see the accident. The tapes from their dash cams were put on the news, Even after wpd pscc and the family tried to keep them from being shown. Oh so yes, while all of you drama feeding scum bags were getting off on watching an officer die, they were at home seeing the same thing. So dont you dare try to say they didnt have to watch their son, husband and father die.

R.I.P 313.... Officer Matthews died protecting YOU!! He died doing his best to do his duty to protect Wilmington. You all should be ashamed of yourselves for blaming him!

First of all BITE ME!!! Officer Matthews chose to go to work that night to protect all of us. Pierce chose to carry an illegal weapon and have drugs for sale. I would say there is a HUGE difference in these two people. I have driven down Shipyard BLVD at all hours of the day and night in all road conditions. You seem to forget Pierce was running to avoid capture which made him a very dangerous person because he had already shown he was willing to anything at all to not be caught. Maybe you should try living in the real world where there are good people like Officer Matthews and low life pond scum like Pierce. Pierce's family all know what he is and what he does for a living which is robbing people of their money and things and selling drugs to our children. You sound like you are defending this felon like so many others posting on here. He (Pierce) was tried judged and convicted and now he can rot in jail with the rest of his kind. Why don't you go join him fool.

I think we are all so numb to how evil the world is that we cant see this clearly.

A piece of s*** criminal was thinking solely of himself when he got a public servent killed. He had a gun for f***sake. Too bad he isnt free and on the streets so he could put that gun right in your face as he raped your mother and made you watch. Get these villians out of our society. He had a gun; he would kill you if he had a half a chance. You dont have a gun for the intent not to use it. He's a killer and if you cant see that then maybe you deserve to be in the cell with him.

I think it is and outrage how the law blame convicts but when they do wtong they push it under the rug where is the justice the police should have used there jugement first of all the police should not chase any one in the city limits over an 100 milies an hr thats just stupidity I mean yes they have to serve an protect but do it the right way instead of trying to gain a name for themselves they just let the police get away with to much putting 15 year old juvenile names on another person search warrent who is an adult putting juveniles in danger blaming other people for there poor jugement but the DA don't see that oh well and they wonder why we don't trust the law.

I saw someone mentioned that case and how Ben David and his three R's didnt show up for the victim but defended the police and the officer walked away SCOTT FREE..and the police actually SHOT AND KILLED that kid directly..but yet our good DA goes and put a man on trial that had nothing to do with Officer Matthews death..when this case goes to the appeal court and come back overturned..we need to have Ben David put out of office..PUT OUT..DISBARRED..NEVER TO PRACTICE LAW IN NH COUNTY EVER AGAIN!!! this was racially bias to the full degree!!