Man found guilty in 2018 beating death of good Samaritan

Left: Hakeem Sanders Right: Alan Pearson (Photo: NHSO/Contributed)

WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) — A Wilmington man was found guilty in the 2018 beating death of a good Samaritan.

Hakeem Sanders, 32, was found guilty of second degree murder Thursday by a New Hanover County jury. He was sentenced to at least 12 years in prison.

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The murder happened on March 12, 2018, at the Safeway Grocery Mart on Wilshire Blvd.

The victim, Alan Pearson, was born and raised in New Hanover County and lived with his wife in Leland.

The evidence at trial showed that Sanders was arguing with a woman in the parking lot and then placed her in a chokehold, which Pearson and other customers saw from inside the store. After Sanders and the woman entered the store, Pearson encouraged the woman to remain in the store until police arrived.

Sanders overheard Pearson speaking with the woman and then assaulted Pearson, leaving him unconscious.

Pearson subsequently fractured his skull upon hitting the ground, and he died from traumatic brain injuries two days later.

The murder was captured on the surveillance cameras at the store, which helped the Wilmington Police Department’s investigation in arresting Sanders, who was on probation for assault on a female at the time.