UDPATE: No bond for third suspect charged with murder in fatal shooting of student

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A third suspect made his first court appearance on a murder charge Tuesday, in connection with the death of 16-year-old Shane Simpson. The suspect was arrested more than two weeks after the teen's death. Photo by Christina Haley.
A third suspect made his first court appearance on a murder charge Tuesday, in connection with the death of 16-year-old Shane Simpson. The suspect was arrested more than two weeks after the teen’s death. Photo by Christina Haley.

A third suspect charged with the death of 16-year-old Shane Simpson, who was killed in a daytime drive-by shooting in December, was ordered to be held without bond during his first court appearance.

Anthony Travis Slaughter, 21, made his first appearance in New Hanover County District Court Tuesday morning on a charge of first-degree murder and other drug charges. He was arrested at about 5 p.m. Monday during a traffic stop in the 2300 block of Princess Place Drive, according to Wilmington Police Department Spokeswoman Cathryn Lindsay.

Slaughter and a passenger in the vehicle – 22-year-old Joshua Ryan Wright – were taken into custody. Several bindles of heroin, marijuana and a large amount of cash were seized from the vehicle, Lindsay said. Wright was charged with possession with intent to manufacture, sell or deliver a schedule I controlled substance and possession of drug paraphernalia. He was booked at the New Hanover County Jail under a $500,000 secured bond.

Both suspects arrested in the vehicle stop are “known gang members,” Lindsay said.

Slaughter was served with a first-degree murder warrant at the time of his arrest on drug charges, Lindsay said. He has been charged with the death of Simpson, a New Hanover High School student who was killed in a gang-related shooting at the corner of 11th and Castle Streets on Dec. 20, 2015. Four other teens, ages 15 to 17, were also injured in the shooting but have since been released from the hospital.

Two other suspects were previously arrested and charged in connection with Simpson’s death. Tyrek Desmond Anderson, 17, and Deandre Nixon, 16, faced first-degree murder charges in the case during a first appearance in district court on Dec. 28, 2015. The suspects’ bonds were set at $9 million secured.

Along with the first-degree murder charge, Slaughter also faces charges of selling or delivering a schedule I controlled substance, possession with intent to manufacture, sell or deliver a schedule I controlled substance, possession of drug paraphernalia, two probation violations and three counts of failure to appear on felony charges.

During his first appearance on the charges Tuesday, District Attorney Ben David said the defendant is at the appropriate age to be tried capitally in the case.

“Mr. Slaughter is 21, so he is death penalty eligible. Obviously that has not been determined yet,” David said. “That’s an involved process that’s going to take several weeks.”

Detectives found drugs and about $3,835 in cash in the vehicle at the time of Slaughter’s arrest, David said.

Anthony Travis Slaughter
Anthony Travis Slaughter

According to court records, Slaughter has pending drug charges in New Hanover County Superior Court from 2015, including three counts of possession with intent to sell, manufacture or deliver heroin, selling or delivering heroin, attempt to sell or deliver heroin, two counts of maintaining a vehicle, dwelling or place for a controlled substance, and two counts of possession of drug paraphernalia.

He was also convicted of three felonies, including selling or delivering a schedule I controlled substance and common law robbery, according to the N.C. Department of Corrections. His most recent felony conviction was on the drug charges in August 2014, for which he was ordered to serve 30 months of probation.

Due to the previous convictions, the seriousness of the murder charge and the age of the defendant, David asked the judge to hold Slaughter in jail without bond.

“In light of the fact that he’s a flight risk and…that he is over the age of 18, we’re asking for no bond,” David said.

District Judge Chad E. Hogston ordered Slaughter to be held without bond and appointed him to the Capital Public Defender’s Office. The case is scheduled to be heard in New Hanover County District Court on Jan. 21.

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