Killers of 12-Year-Old Emily Haddock Get Plea Bargain
compiled by Lewis Loflin
The material below was compiled from about 10 news articles from the Pilot during 2010 - 2011.
See part one Murder of 12-Year-Old Emily Haddock
The trial for Michael Graham Currie is scheduled to begin Feb. 1 in Moore County Superior Court. Currie is one of five black men charged. The others are: Sherrod Nicholas Harrison, who was 19 at the time; Van Roger Smith Jr., who was 16; Perry Ross Schiro, who was 19; and Ryan Jermar White, who was 18. Most were already on probation or had earlier convictions suspended and let loose.
The problem for North Carolina is the so-called civil rights community has brought pressure on the State to curb the severity and in their view disproportionate number of sentences on blacks. There is no evidence they weren't guilty, quite the contrary. Like Virginia with similar statistics blacks males commit a massive amount of crime, but that's not the point. It's racism merely because they are black, guilt be damned.
Defendant Currie's lawyer Tony Buzzard made the point in January 2010 he was ready to play the race card. To quote one report, "Buzzard also said the issue of the Racial Justice Act must be addressed by the court. The law prohibits seeking or imposing a death sentence on the basis of race."
The state was seeking the death penalty for Currie and Harrison...while Schiro, White and Smith will not face the death penalty if convicted. Smith is too young to qualify for the death penalty, and prosecutors have said they won't seek it for White. Deputies have said White was not present when Emily was killed. The state told a Superior Court judge in February 2008 that it would not try Schiro capitally.
The killers of Emily Haddock
Turns out none of the thugs will face the death penalty. One got life supposedly without parole, one walked with time served, one got less than 7 years, with parole the other two could be out in less than 10 years.
October 13, 2010: "Currie shot Haddock in the mouth and the top of the head with a stolen .22-caliber pistol, according to his admission in an earlier hearing. His proffer included a new claim - not made previously in any other statements by Currie and others - that he'd told Shiro the gun he was giving him had been used to kill Haddock."
So says the Pilot Online. Thus all the others were cleared of murder and copped plea deals of their own. After three years this is the result. Moore County District Attorney Maureen Krueger claims this was done for the family and with their consent. Then it was revealed they had no case for a death penalty because of conflicting testimony between the five accused thugs. No, it's about race.
August 11, 2010: The admitted killer of 12-year-old Emily Haddock asked her family to forgive him Tuesday before he was sentenced to life in prison without possibility of parole.
"First I would like to apologize to the victim's family, the DA, and all I have hurt," Michael Graham Currie said in Moore County Superior Court. "I am not cruel or anything like that. The only thing I am asking for is the solitude of forgiveness. If you will grant me that, I will greatly appreciate it."
An earlier plea deal had fallen apart, this one stuck.
October 31, 2010: Van Roger Smith Jr., 19, pleaded guilty to being an accessory after the fact of first-degree murder in the shooting death of Emily Haddock on Sept. 11, 2007. Judge James Bell sentenced Smith to serve 58 to 79 months in prison. That's less than 7 years.
Perry Ross Shiro, was served with a new charge. The Moore County Grand Jury indicted Shiro as an accessory after the fact to first-degree murder in the killing of 12-year-old Emily Haddock. His lawyer noted, "You can't be both a principal and an accessory." It was reported he left the court shaking his head. Earlier in August, Michael Graham Currie copped a plea deal that gave him life in prison without parole.
January 14, 2011: A jury convicted Perry Ross Schiro of acting as an accessory after the fact to first-degree murder. Schiro is still serving a sentence from summer 2010 for assaulting a corrections officer at the Moore County jail.
A first-degree murder, which had kept him in the county jail for three years pending trial, was dropped the previous week after the state proceeded on a December indictment as an accessory - however he will get no "credit for time served" since that was a different charge.
Judge James M. Webb sentenced Schiro to 116 months (little over 10 years) minimum in the state prison system and did not recommend work release. That sentence will be served concurrently with his sentence on the assault charge.
June 3, 2010: The state accepted a plea deal late today with one of the suspects charged in the murder of a Vass girl three years ago. Sherrod Nicholas Harrison was facing a possible death penalty in the shooting death of 12-year-old Emily Haddock. She was shot Sept. 11, 2007, during a break-in at her home. She was sick and out of school.
Harrison pleaded guilty to being an accessory after the fact to first-degree degree murder. The deal was an Alford plea, meaning he didn't admit actual guilt but took the agreement as being in his interest. Harrison was sentenced to serve 93 to 121 months in prison, with credit for time served, sentence to run concurrently with his present sentence. That is a max of about 10 years.
Extracts from the Pilot: June 6, 2010 on the "strange twists" with Harrison.
Sheriff's deputies ringed the room as Haddock's parents and other family members took seats in a taped-off section. For security, court was closed at that point with no one to enter or leave except in case of emergency...Harrison's mother was angry about the whole thing - while still extremely sad about what the victim's family has had to face...
"This entire ordeal has been a tragedy, not only for the Haddock family, but for my family as well," Sherry C. Harrison said in a written note handed to The Pilot following the hearing. "Out of the fear of not getting a fair trial, Sherrod took a plea. ... Those of us who were closely involved know this was nothing more than a false conviction."
(District Attorney Maureen) Krueger, reading from that document and during an earlier statement of facts to support his plea, said the five defendants had made a number of conflicting statements. Investigators had the difficult task of matching those statements to physical evidence as well as to each other, she said.
In one statement, Currie denied Harrison had been in the Haddock home - that matched the fact that footprints at the scene were not his. Records show cell phone calls between Currie and Harrison. That matched Harrison's statements that Currie called him to say he had run out of gas.
Harrison got a can of gasoline and passed the stranded burgundy van (with Schiro and Currie) on the way. A second call told him to turn around. Currie left Schiro in the vehicle while he gassed up the van, the court was told.
Krueger described the gang's method as knocking on doors pretending to be lost and looking for directions. If nobody answered, they would break the door and go in looking for weapons and other valuables.
The girl (Emily) had been in a back room, putting together a puzzle on the floor. She had spoken with her mother a couple of times that morning, unhappy to have to spend a boring day out of school, according to court statements. On hearing the intruders coming in, she apparently tried to hide in a bathroom and was in the doorway when she was shot.
"Defendant Currie, by all accounts, appears to have been the shooter," Krueger said.
He had obtained a Browning .22-caliber handgun during a previous breaking and entering and brought that along, according to Krueger. Haddock had been shot once in the mouth and once in the head, Krueger said.
District Attorney Maureen Krueger later said the Haddock Cases were 'Very Complicated':
"The case against the defendants as a whole was very complicated, though," Krueger said. "Initially, the defendants gave conflicting accounts of what happened and who was involved - including who was the person that actually murdered Emily...We couldn't corroborate the statements with any of the forensic evidence, and that presented huge evidentiary issues. There were also some legal hurdles relating to joint trials and with the death penalty."
The existence of alternative accounts among the several defendants could have led to many and lengthy appeals, with no end in sight for the Haddocks. Krueger worried any death sentence might string things out for decades - as she said it had in another case some years ago...
I'm sure race and pressure from civil rights groups had nothing to do with the plea bargains. So ends the case. The last defendant White got away with time served. The press was silent on this case outside the Pilot whose coverage deserves praise. There was a lot of bad feelings around this and there should be. Why were most of those thugs not already in jail where they belonged? One writer at the Pilot blasted the public attitude of a few for demanding lynch mob justice and they should, but where are the calls to look into why so many feel this way? Is the feeling justified based on the facts?
Until the press ends these double standards and looks into the violence from the black community and stops turning it somehow into white racism, then racial tensions will only grow.
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