Inmates charged in failed Pasquotank prison break appear in court


ELIZABETH CITY, N.C. (WAVY) — Three of the four inmates charged with murder in a deadly failed escape at a North Carolina prison appeared in court Thursday morning.

Wisezah Buckman, Seth Frazier, Mikel Brady and Jonathan Monk are accused of starting a fire in the sewing facility at Pasquotank Correctional Institution last October, before trying to escape. They were caught before leaving the prison yard, however.

Several people were injured in the chaos — and four of the prison’s employees died. Prosecutors charged the men with first-degree murder, among several other counts. 

Womble said in December he was seeking the death penalty against the four inmates.  He said the same thing again today.

“After the reviewing the evidence that I have, I’ve seen some of the most brutal acts in my 23 year career,” Womble said.

Trial dates have not yet been set.  Womble plans to try each case separately starting with Brady.

“We believe we are going to try the strongest case first,” Womble added.

Autopsy reports state that Officer Justin Smith died as a result of multiple blunt and sharp force injuries, Wendy Shannon died from complications of blunt force head injuries,  Veronica Darden died from multiple blunt and sharp force injuries, and  Geoggrey Howe died of blunt force head injuries.

The report states that Smith was attacked with several objects including a ball-peen hammer, claw hammer, and half of a pair of scissors. It states that Smith had 16 stab wounds to the front of his chest as well as 13 to 15 stab wounds to his back.

Darden’s report states that she suffered from multiple lacerations of the head and face, skull fractures, a stab wound to her back, and a cut to her neck.

Shannon’s report states that she was reportedly struck with a hammer and suffered traumatic injuries to her head and face. Shannon died at Sentara Norfolk General Hospital in Virginia on October 30th.

Howe’s report says that Howe was reportedly struck with a hammer and suffered extensive head injuries. He died at Sentara Norfolk General Hospital as well on November 2nd.

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