Tuesday, March 21, 2023

Prosecutors say victim was shot, stabbed eight times in altercation over accused killer’s wife

Aaron Stephens made his first appearance in court on Thursday, charged with second-degree murder in connection with the death of 39-year-old Terry Greenwood. (Photo by Christina Haley.)
Aaron Stephens made his first appearance in court on Thursday, charged with second-degree murder in connection with the death of 39-year-old Terry Greenwood. (Photo by Christina Haley.)

NEW HANOVER COUNTY — The bond has been set at $1 million for a Hells Angels gang member charged with killing 39-year-old Terry Greenwood early Wednesday morning in Monkey Junction.

Aaron Christopher Stephens, 42, was arrested Wednesday and charged with second-degree murder in Greenwood’s death. He made video first appearance Thursday afternoon in New Hanover County District Court, with his wife, and children, in the courtroom for his appearance.

During the hearing, Assistant District Attorney Dru Lewis said Greenwood and Stephens had known each other and had a history of altercations.

“Right now, it’s believed to have been centered around this defendant’s wife. There was some sort of relationship that she may have had with Mr. Greenwood at some point,” Lewis said.

Early Wednesday morning, deputies responded to a call reporting an altercation involving the defendant and victim, Lewis said. Arriving deputies found Greenwood dead on the ground, next to his truck, in a cul-de-sac at the end of Julia Drive in the Sycamore Grove neighborhood. Another 35-year-old victim, was found inside the truck severely injured with stab wounds.

What prosecutors say happened

Lewis said an autopsy revealed that Greenwood was shot in the face and stabbed eight times. The other man was taken to the hospital to be treated for severe stab wounds to his chest. He remained hospitalized on Thursday, Lewis said.

In what Lewis described as a “complicated crime scene,” investigators found a handgun, knives, a gun clip and a slap stick. Those items, he said, “showed the kind of chaos of this altercation.”

In reading the evidence, Lewis said the alleged altercation between Greenwood and Stephens began at an unknown location late Tuesday evening and then continued onto Julia Drive. Video surveillance from a street camera shows Greenwood later drove his vehicle to the end of Julia Drive; Stephens soon followed in his white Mercedes Benz, Lewis said.

Though the Greenwood’s shooting was not captured on camera, Lewis said a gunshot can be heard early in the recording.

“You can hear a gunshot early in the altercation. And the altercation goes on for at least two more minutes, where you can hear some screaming and grunts during the course of that altercation,” Lewis said. “And then you see the white Mercedes turn around and drive back in the opposite direction — which happens to be back toward his house — with (its) lights off.”

Stephens, a resident of the 600 block of Julia Drive in Wilmington, is alleged to have returned home after the altercation, parking in front of his house.

“Officers found this defendant’s car parked out in front of his house. There was a large amount of blood inside of his vehicle,” Lewis said. “Pursuant to a search warrant … they also found blood inside his house and other evidence linking him to possibly having been involved in this killing down the cul-de-sac.”

Stephens was also reportedly injured. He, too, was taken to a hospital for treatment. Lewis said Stephens did not have any stab or gunshot wounds, they do suspect he suffered a concussion.

Lewis said Stephens checked himself out of the hospital following treatment and then made several errands, including visiting a friend.

Aaron Christopher Stephens
Aaron Christopher Stephens

Investigators also suspect he visited a known gang hangout. According to Lewis, Stephens is a validated Hells Angels gang member out of Fayetteville.

Stephens eventually went to law enforcement to speak to them about what happened, Lewis said.

“He initially said that there had been some sort of physical altercation out in front of his house and didn’t know who it was. Somebody with a mask approached him,” Lewis said.”He then basically, did not have any knowledge of anything that had happened down at the end of the cul-de-sac, at the end of the street.”

Bond set

Lewis asked the judge to set a $2 million bond for the defendant, claiming the state believes Stephens still poses a danger to the public.

“This is an unfolding investigation that was solved very quickly. But I am not convinced this is the last of the charges that might come against him,” Lewis said. “And I think we would argue that if the evidence holds the way it is now, if you stab somebody eight times and you shoot him in the face, that you are clearly a danger.”

Stephens also faces charges of assault with a deadly weapon with intent to kill inflicting serious injury and possession of a firearm by a felon. According to Lewis, Stephens also has a previous drug conviction and a conviction for resisting officers out of Texas.

But Attorney H. Lawrence Shotwell, who represented Stephens during the hearing, asked the judge to set a lower bond for the defendant. Requesting a $100,000 bond from the judge, Shotwell said, “So, in so far as his danger to the community, judge, I would have you look at his marriage with kids, his house, his career.

“Likewise in so far as his flight risk … I don’t believe that since these things have occurred, that he made any effort to flee the jurisdiction,” Shotwell said.

Judge Robin Robinson set bond at $1 million, as well as pretrial conditions should Stephens post bond. Those conditions include GPS monitoring, house arrest and having no contact with the 35-year-old victim or Greenwood’s family. He was also ordered not to have any contact with known gang members.

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