Haddock Murder Suspect Pleads Guilty in Attack on Jailer
The last of five defendants charged in the murder of a Vass girl during a home invasion three years ago pleaded guilty Monday to a charge in another case.
Perry Ross Schiro accepted a plea deal on an alleged attack on a jailer that happened a year ago.
On Halloween last year, jailer Jason Phillips was helping Schiro get a change of clothes. The Moore County Detention Center didn’t have enough clean red jumpsuits, so he arranged for Shiro’s to be washed and was returning it to his cell when Schiro attacked him, he said on the stand.
“When I got to his room and handed him the jumpsuit, he punched me,” Phillips said. “He knocked me to the floor, and then he jumped on me.”
Phillips heard “Code Red!” over the speaker as Schiro was working him over. It’s a code indicating something bad is going on, he told the court. EMS responded and checked Phillips, and he was taken to the Emergency Room in Pinehurst. X-rays showed the bone around one eye socket had been fractured in two places. His nose had been split top to bottom, according to testimony.
The wounds caused an interruption in his Basic Law Enforcement Training as he was unable to continue the PT (physical training) portion of his study.
‘Realizes It Was Wrong’
Speaking for his client and asking the plea be accepted, Schiro’s lawyer, Richard Roose, told Senior Resident Superior Court Judge James M. Webb that his client was remorseful.
“Mr. Schiro had been in jail for two years,” he said. “He realizes it was wrong. He accepts responsibility with this guilty plea. He cooperated at the time.”
Accepting responsibility and cooperation with authorities are two of the possibilities courts accept as points in mediation.
Webb accepted Schiro’s plea to assault on a corrections officer inflicting serious injury and, based on prior record points, imposed a 23-month sentence with credit for time served since Nov. 4, 2009.
Schiro originally faced first-degree murder charges in the Haddock case, but in October the grand jury indicted him as an accessory to first-degree murder. In an earlier hearing, Roose said he expected that to supplant first-degree murder.
“You can’t be guilty of a murder and also an accessory,” Roose said last month.
By agreement, both matters were set for trial Jan. 3 of next year. Webb asked how long they thought that trial would take, barring a plea.
“Not extraordinarily lengthy,” Roose said. “It depends on motions — about a week.”
A Week to Decide
There is a motion to suppress to be argued, along with some discovery matters.
“I think a full week, including the motion to suppress,” Prosecutor Peter Strickland said. “We made a plea offer — plead guilty to accessory and the state will dismiss first-degree murder and other charges.”
Strickland said Schiro has until the end of the week to decide whether to accept that plea offer.
The new indictment as accessory followed plea deals with other defendants. Michael Graham Currie admitted to firing the shots that killed 12-year-old Emily Haddock. He is serving life without parole. Another defendant, Van Roger Smith Jr., 19, accepted his plea deal Oct. 29 when he pleaded guilty to being an accessory after the fact to the first-degree murder of Haddock.
“She was 12 years old and had been staying at home sick for several days,” District Attorney Maureen Krueger said as she laid out evidence to support Smith’s plea. “Around noontime, the front door was kicked in by Michael Currie. He and Sherrod Harrison went in. Currie encountered Emily and fired two shots in a panic. Her grandfather, coming to check on her, found her and called 911.”
Smith is presently serving his 58- to 79-month prison sentence. At Krueger’s request, the court ordered that he not be housed with any of the others who have already been sentenced in the child’s death. With 37 months served in jail awaiting trial, Smith could be out in less than two years.
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