Jury convicts in double homicide

Published 6:44 pm Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Ray Pugh

Ray Pugh

WILLIAMSTON — A Martin County jury took the first step in resolving a grisly double homicide when they sentenced Ray Pugh, of Windsor, originally of Bertie County, to what amounts to life without parole last Friday.

The crime took place on Sept. 23, 2007. Four men set out to rob a “shothouse,” an illegal bar, just after midnight: Pugh, Charles Mceachern, Willie Smallwood and Rolando Slade. According to testimony from Smallwood, just before they entered the establishment, Pugh said they wouldn’t need masks, indicating they would leave no witnesses to the crime. At that point, Smallwood said, he walked away, and moments later heard gunshots.

The owner of the shothouse, Dwain Rogers, was shot at point-blank range in the face; a bar patron, Stanley Taylor, was shot in the side of the head; a second patron, Roger Alexander, was also shot in the face, according to Assistant District Attorney Jonathan Jones. Rogers died at the scene; Taylor, five days later at Pitt County Memorial Hospital, Jones said. It was Alexander who later alerted authorities to the crime.

“The surviving victim — he was shot in the face — got up off the floor and walked to a relative’s house a few houses down,” Jones said. “The perpetrators were gone.”

According to court testimony, a single weapon was used to shoot all three victims.

Two of Pugh’s co-defendents, Smallwood and Mceachern, made deals with the state: Smallwood pleaded to accessory after the fact to first-degree murder and robbery with a dangerous weapon; Mceachern, to accessory after the fact to first-degree murder and conspiracy to commit robbery. Neither man has been sentenced yet. The fourth co-defendent, Rolando Slade, did not testify as expected and further action on his case is pending, Jones said.

Jones said that in his 11 years with the District Attorney’s Office in Martin County, he has never seen a double homicide in the county.

Pugh was sentenced to two consecutive life sentences (25 years) for two counts of first-degree murder, plus additional time for attempted murder and robbery with a dangerous weapon.