Crime notebook: Man who fled from trial arrested, sentenced on drug convictions

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Antwarn Rogers
Antwarn Rogers

A Wilmington man who fled from his trial in 2014, but was found guilty on multiple drug charges, has been sentenced to more than 12 years in prison following his arrest last week.

Antwarn Rogers, 31, was sentenced Thursday by Superior Court Judge W. Allen Cobb Jr., to a total of 146 to 200 months in the N.C. Department of Corrections, according to a news release from District Attorney Ben David.

On Nov. 20, 2014, a New Hanover County jury found Rogers guilty of possession with intent to distribute cocaine, maintaining a vehicle or place for a controlled substance, possession of drug paraphernalia, possession of marijuana and a separate habitual felon conviction, David said.

Rogers was present for the first day of jury selection but failed to attend the remainder of his trial, according to David. Judge Cobb issued an order for his arrest following the jury verdicts. Rogers was arrested Aug. 13 and sentenced on his convictions.

Rogers was sentenced for an offense that occurred in August 2013, David said.

New Hanover County Sheriff’s detectives were led to believe Rogers was involved in the distribution of cocaine on Aug. 8, 2013, David said. Detectives searched a hotel room at the Econo Lodge Motel on Market Street and found several grams of cocaine, digital scales and packaging material in the bathroom.

Detectives stopped Rogers driving a Cadillac and discovered more cocaine in the gas cap area, David said. Rogers had cash, key cards for the hotel room and a cell phone in his possession. The phone reportedly had evidence of various phone calls from people ordering or attempting to order drugs.

“This defendant only compounded his trouble by fleeing during his trial. Despite his efforts to avoid court for nearly nine months he was brought to justice,” David said.

Rogers has been convicted of felony drug charges on six separate occasions, he added.

Man pleads guilty to sexual assault on relative

A South Carolina man was sentenced to 25 years in prison for sexually abusing a family relative in 2013.

Johnny Ray Sawyer, 39, of Sumter, South Carolina, pleaded guilty Thursday in New Hanover County Superior Court to multiple counts of statutory sex offense and taking indecent liberties with a child, according to David.

Sawyer admitted to sexually abusing a relative multiple times in 2013, David said. According to the evidence, Sawyer had started abusing the minor victim at a very young age when they were both living in another state. The sexual abuse continued when they moved to New Hanover County.

Superior Court Judge W. Allen Cobb Jr. order Sawyer to register as a sex offender for 30 years after the completion of his sentence.