Three more arrested, charged in River Road Estates murder

Published 3:14 pm Tuesday, November 8, 2016



Three more men have been arrested and charged with the Sept. 8 murder of 22-year-old Joshua Rashawn O’Neal.

Jermaine Anthony Norfleet, 25, of Greenville, Keimon Rashae Blount, 22, of Plymouth, and 16-year-old Zaquan Lavon Patrick, of Greenville, have been charged with first-degree murder, attempted robbery with a dangerous weapon and first-degree burglary last week. Another man, Jeffrey Lamar Sawyer, 24, of Plymouth, was arrested by Beaufort County Sheriff’s Office deputies, with assistance from Washington Police officers, shortly after the crime was committed, according to a press release from the sheriff’s office.

The night of the crime, O’Neal was pronounced dead at the scene of 116 Baker Drive in River Road Estates. Deputies, troopers from the North Carolina Highway Patrol responded and immediately began lifesaving efforts, which were continued when medical personnel arrived, the press release said. Beaufort County Sheriff’s Office Chief Deputy said there were as many as six witnesses to the crime.

“It looked like it was going to be a robbery,” Rose said. “There’s nothing to lead us to believe that they went there with the intent to kill him. … It was to rob him, but it just escalated to the point that it was a homicide.”

Rose said it appeared that the victim and the perpetrators all knew one another.

“Right now, we know that several people knew each other; several other folks who were going to commit the robbery knew several other folks in the trailer,” Rose said. “They were likely acquaintances or maybe even friends.”

Sheriff Ernie Coleman said the crime revolved around a drug deal — that the perpetrators knew there was cash at the residence.

“They went in there knowing they had cash and thinking they just take the cash or drugs and run, and it went bad,” Coleman said.

Rose said the assistance of other law enforcement agencies helped make the arrests possible.

Norfleet was arrested in Greenville by the Greenville Police Department’s Fugitive Task Force; Patrick was already in custody on Washington County warrants and Blount was arrested by deputies with the Washington County Sheriff’s Office, according to the release.

“It’s very important (that agencies work together), and it’s important that the information is timely. In a lot of situations, we might not know the importance of information when we get it, but we have it and can use it later,” Rose said. “The ability to work with neighboring counties is what leads to being able to solve cases like this.”

All suspects are being held without bond, and one more arrest is expected in the case, the release stated.