Pender County DA push for death penalty in Surf City murder investigation

Suspect held without bond

SURF CITY, NC (WWAY) – The man charged with the murder of a Surf City store clerk made his first appearance in Pender County Court Friday.

It’s a murder that rocked the town of Surf City, a store clerk killed during an armed robbery,
Surf City’s Mayor Doug Medlin is still in disbelief.

“We just don’t understand something like this,” he said. “I mean we’ve had people go in and steal stuff, and things like that but nothing like a robbery, and then specially someone get killed in the process, so that’s what really shocks the town.”

Pender County District Attorney Ben David echoing the mayor’s sentiment.

“I know this is a case that has shocked the community,” he said. “I know this is something that a lot of people have turned their attention to, and we are most certainly giving this a very high priority in the criminal justice system.”

David was in court with Assistant Attorney Jason Smith and Surf City Police Chief Phillip Voorhees for the first appearance of 22-year-old Charles Michael Haywood.

Haywood is charged with the murder of Margaret Bracey, who was killed Wednesday night inside the  Exotic Hemp Company located on 100 Charlie Medlin Dr. off Highway 50.

As Judge Russell Davis read the charges, which included armed robbery, Haywood nodded his head – to confirm he understood the charges, he was then escorted out of the courtroom, the proceedings took less than 10 minutes.

David’s office is pushing for the death penalty.

“It was the state’s request that he be appointed the Capital Defender’s Office since this has the potential to be a death penalty case,” he said. “we also asked that it be held with no bond”

The office and police chief worked together through the night the murder happened.
Law officials, along with District Attorney’s Office kept a tight lip on how Bracey was killed or if a weapon was used.

“We’re not allowed to talk about the underlying facts of the investigation,” said David.

The incident report requested by WWAY mentioned a suspect, who was armed with a “lethal cutting instrument,” and stated the victim and suspect did not know each other.

Haywood is expected back in court on September 14th.

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