UPDATE: The North Carolina 1st Prosecutorial District Attorney’s office conducted a Rule 24 hearing Monday, May 9, in Pasquotank Superior Court and is seeking the death penalty in the case of Ricky Etheridge Jr. Etheridge’s next court appearance will be an administrative hearing which has not yet been set for an official date.
ELIZABETH CITY, N.C. (WAVY) – The man accused of killing three people in Elizabeth City last year, including a 3-year-old girl, appeared in court Monday morning.
Monday was Etheridge’s first court appearance since being extradited to Elizabeth City. In court Monday, the prosecution told a judge there was a notice for Etheridge to receive the death penalty.
The preliminary hearing for Ricky Etheridge Jr. did not happen, though. A motions hearing is now set for the week of May 9 for a “Rule 24 hearing.”
“The filing the Rule 24 notice, we are informing the court and the defendant that we intend to seek the death penalty. We will disclose the pertinent aggravating factors at the Rule 24 hearing,” Pasquotank County District Attorney Andrew Womble told 10 On Your Side in an email Monday afternoon.
A second man, Terence Seymore, was arrested in January in connection with this case.
Womble said Seymore is also scheduled for a Rule 24 hearing on the week of May 9.
The deadly shooting happened December 2 on Perry Street. Etheridge was arrested in Norfolk a couple weeks later. Seymore was arrested in January in North Carolina.
Both men are facing three counts of murder in connection with the fatal shootings of 3-year-old Allura Pledger, 39-year-old De‘Shay (Takeyia) Berry and 18-year-old Jaquan White.
Etheridge’s attorney expressed many concerns on how the case has been handled.
Etheridge’s defense attorney, Jeffrey Dobson, said the North Carolina statute is clear; Etheridge must be brought before court within 72 hours. However, it took 88 days. Dobson said Monday’s court date wasn’t even set until a speedy trial motion was filed.
Dobson said they shouldn’t be allowed to seek the death penalty because the state failed to follow required procedures.
“They’re seeking to take his life and they can’t follow something as simple as bringing him before a judge. After being retained we filed something to compel them to do that, and they simply just ignored it. Not until we filed something again in March asking for a speedy trial did this actually get set,” said Dobson.
Three men were also wounded.