A North Carolina murder suspect will appear in court again next week after being reported by his own mother, who recognized him from CCTV footage on the news.
Charles Michael Haywood, 22, has been charged with first degree murder in connection with the death of Margaret Bracey, 42, on Aug. 24. The owner of the Surf City company was fatally stabbed while working at Exotic Hemp Company when a suspect was caught on camera entering the store, talking to her, taking money when she opened the register, and then stabbing her multiple times.
Mr Haywood returned that day with a bleeding hand to the house he temporarily shared with his mother, who took him to hospital for treatment, according to local reports.
She later saw surveillance footage showing her son in connection with the murder — and took him to the police station, where he was arrested the morning after the murder, according to warrants obtained by WECT.
Mr Haywood reportedly stole about $750 worth of merchandise and cash, put it in his backpack and left his sweatpants and bandana on the scene — donning only his shirt, boxers and thongs, WECT reported.
Police followed a trail of blood drops to an intersection about 700 meters from the house Haywood shared with his mother.
“[Haywood’s mother] took Haywood to the Surf City Police Department, where he was interviewed and ultimately arrested for first degree murder and armed robbery,” the documents state, according to WECT.
“while interviewing” [Haywood’s mother]she told me that Haywood had returned to her home with his shirt wrapped around his hand. [She] stated that Haywood entered the house and was in the shower. [She] stated that she checked Haywood and found that he had a laceration in his hand that required medical attention.
“[She] stated that Haywood put the shirt he had wrapped around his hand in a garbage bag and put the garbage bag in the outside garbage can.”
WECT reported that police seized Haywood’s clothing, medical records and surveillance from the hospital where he was being treated.
Mr Haywood has been charged with murder and armed robbery and is being held without bail. The 22-year-old — who was originally from Holly Springs, about two hours inland — first appeared in court on August 26.
The Pender County District Attorney is pushing for the death penalty, WWAY reported.
“I know this is a case that has shocked the community,” DA Ben David told the station. “I know this is something that a lot of people have turned their attention to, and we certainly give this a very high priority in the criminal justice system.”
Tributes are pouring in for Mrs. Bracey; a man who answered the phone in her shop on Friday said: The independent no manager was available to talk.
“Like anyone who loves you, we are all in disbelief and wish we could wake up from this nightmare,” a friend wrote on the victim’s Facebook page.
Surf City Mayor Doug Medlin echoed those sentiments.
“We just don’t understand something like that,” he told WWAY. “I mean, we’ve had people go in there and steal things, and things like that, but nothing like a robbery, and then someone in particular gets killed in the process, so that’s what really shocks the city.”