Man who murdered estranged wife at Wilmington gas station granted parole

James Tidwell (Photo: NC Department of Public Safety)

WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) — A New Hanover County man who stabbed his estranged wife to death more than 30 years ago is being released from prison.

James Tidwell, 63, stabbed Mavies Tidwell nearly two dozen times in front of witnesses at a gas station on College Road in Wilmington.

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A cashier at the gas station said Mavies Tidwell drove up to the cashier’s booth and told her to call the police because she was being harassed by a man.

James Tidwell pulled up, confronted his wife, beat her, and then stabbed her. Their youngest child was also there at the time.

Tidwell was found guilty of murder in 1988 and sentenced to life in prison.

The state’s current sentencing law eliminates parole for crimes committed on or after October 1, 1994, but Tidwell was found guilty under previous sentencing guidelines.

Tidwell will be released from prison on April 4, 2021.