The final suspect charged with the death of a fellow gang member who was likely hit by a ricocheting bullet pleaded guilty Monday to several charges including voluntary manslaughter.
Adron Terrell Whitted, 23, of Wilmington, pleaded guilty in New Hanover County Superior Court to charges of voluntary manslaughter, discharging a firearm into an occupied dwelling and conspiracy discharge a firearm into an occupied dwelling. He was one of three suspects charged with the death of 18-year-old Raequan Dupree Rouse, who prosecutors say was a fellow gang member.
On Jan. 19, 2014, Whitted and his co-defendants – Dominique Gibbs and Torrance Burns – were with Rouse during a shooting at a home in the 600 block of North 10th Street. According to Assistant District Attorney Timothy Severo, all the suspects, including Rouse, had guns.
The defendants targeted the home, which was occupied by rival gang members, Severo said. The defendants attempted to lure its occupants outside by throwing something at the house. But when no one came out of the house, the defendants shot at the home at least 20 times. Two homes were reportedly hit by the gunfire. Investigators believe Rouse was hit in the neck by a bullet that had struck a house, then ricocheted toward the trio running away.
“What is really tragic, judge, is that people who live out in that street…have to be terrorized like this,” Severo said.
The defendants drove away from the area, then met with other gang members to dispose of the weapons before taking Rouse to New Hanover Regional Medical Center, Severo said. Rouse’s injury – a bullet that struck his jugular vein – resulted in a fatal loss of blood.
With help from hospital police, detectives with the Wilmington Police Department were able to identify the co-defendants through surveillance video. Whitted was arrested in Douglasville, Georgia in April 2014 and was later extradited to New Hanover County.
“I will say this about this defendant – when this occurred, when law enforcement came to him…eventually he told law enforcement what happened. And that enabled them to help piece this together…and brought successful resolutions in the other cases,” Severo said. “While he took part in a horrific act…I think we can give him credit for at least standing up after all of this occurred, and not only taking some responsibility, but trying to fix the situation.”
Burns, 19, pleaded guilty Oct. 15 to charges of attempted first-degree murder, voluntary manslaughter and conspiracy to discharge a weapon into an occupied dwelling. He was sentenced to more than 10 years in prison. Gibbs, 17, pleaded guilty on July 3 to voluntary manslaughter, attempted first-degree murder and conspiracy to discharge a weapon into an occupied dwelling in July. She was ordered to serve an active sentence more than 10 years in prison.
Judge John Nobles sentenced Whitted to 8 years in the N.C. Department of Corrections, with credit for time served.