Additional charges for inmates after death of third Pasquotank Correctional Institution officer

Posted at 5:26 PM, Oct 31, 2017
and last updated 2017-10-31 22:31:57-04

PASQUOTANK, N.C. - Four inmates charged in an attempted escape at Pasquotank Correctional Institution earlier this month will face an additional murder charge after another correctional officer died from her injuries.

Correctional officer Wendy Shannon has died after fighting for her life for nearly a month from injuries during the riot.

"Our deepest sympathies for the Shannon family," District Attorney Andrew Womble said.

The four defendants are currently charged with first degree murder in the deaths of correctional officer Justin Smith, correctional enterprise manager Veronica Darden, and now correctional officer Wendy Shannon.

"All of the charges that were passed from the grand jury yesterday will remain and there will be an additional charge of first degree murder added," Womble said.

A fourth employee, Geoffrey Howe, is still in critical condition.

" We would proceed with four indictments of first degree murder for the injuries sustained by Mr. Howe during this attempted escape but I would like to say we are strongly for the recovery of Mr. Howe," Womble said.

In his five years as North Carolina's district attorney, Andrew Womble says he has only sought the death penalty in one other case back in 2014.

"Our ultimate goal is that justice be applied fairly and we will do that, we will take a look at these cases and make a decision and it will be known pretty soon," Womble said.

The grand jury will meet on December 4 for the indictment in Shannon's death.

Womble says the close-knit community wants justice, but getting there will take time.

"What makes this different is the scale and the scope. Any time you have multiple defendants and multiple victims that’s where the real complicating matters come in," Womble said.