Local News

State trooper's accused killer pleads guilty to related charges

Posted January 22, 2014

— A Williamston man who authorities say hit and killed a North Carolina State Highway Patrol trooper during a high-speed chase pleaded guilty Wednesday to charges stemming from offenses that happened prior to the Sept. 8, 2012, pursuit.

Christopher McCoy Rodgers, 41, was sentenced in a Wake County courtroom to 13.5 to 18.3 years in prison on charges of first-degree burglary, common law robbery and two counts of first-degree kidnapping.

Wake County Assistant District Attorney Howard Cummings said Rodgers forced his way into the Raleigh home of his estranged girlfriend, restrained her and her young child with duct tape, locked them in a bathroom and stole her ATM card, which he then used to withdraw money to buy crack.

The woman eventually managed to free herself and called 911.

After being spotted by Raleigh police, Rodgers led law enforcement authorities in Wake, Franklin and Nash counties on a high-speed chase that ended on U.S. Highway 64 near Spring Hope.

Cummings said Rodgers then hit Trooper Gene DeMuth, who was putting out stop sticks in an effort to end the chase.

"I am very sorry for what transpired," Rodgers tearfully apologized before being sentenced. "I am so sorry for the trouble that I put (DeMuth's family) through."

Superior Court Judge Ronald Stephens said the case is an example of how an insignificant event can have rippling effects that lead to disastrous consequences.

"I'm not going to preach at you today. Preaching doesn't do any good now," Stephens told Rodgers. "It's over and done with now, and the consequences of your actions are going to be met with substantial punishment."

Rodgers still faces a murder charge in Nash County for DeMuth's death. Wake County prosecutors said Wednesday that, as part of his plea deal, he will plead guilty in Nash County next week to that.

As a result of both plea agreements, Rodgers will spend a minimum of 35 years in prison.

Rodger's attorney in the Nash County case, Randy Hughes, said his client is an intelligent man with a good family but that a crack addiction led to his actions.

"I just wish there was some way to express to the court how sorry he is and how much remorse he has," Hughes said. "I've seen it through the tears – the remorse – and there's just no way to express it."

More than a dozen state troopers, as well as Highway Patrol Commander Col. William Grey, were in court for Wednesday's hearing.

"The patrol's a family, and as with any family, we felt like we needed to be here," Grey said.

DeMuth, 42, a former Marine, was a 12-year veteran of the agency. He left behind a wife and young son.

Grey described him as a wonderful guy and hard worker.

"Our troopers do a very dangerous job every day," he said. "Gene died protecting the citizens of this state, and we remain indebted to his family and to him for his sacrifice."


This story is closed for comments.

Oldest First
View all
  • torchhappysean Jan 23, 2014

    I HATE that the procecutor in this case even considered letting any kind of plea bargian deal happen!!! People like this who are only "sorry" for what they have done AFTER they have been caught should be punished with EXTREME prejudice not allowed to make "deals".. It seems that its always something or somebody else's fault wether it be drugs, childhood problems, or what ever that they can blame besides just the plain old fact that they just don't care!! I can only wish and hope that in the future the punishment will one day actually fit the crime because it doesn't even come close in this day and age...

  • alabama Jan 23, 2014

    View quoted thread

    He hasn't been tried for that, yet. Though he has agreed to plead guilty to that as well as part of the current proceedings.

  • Just the facts mam Jan 22, 2014

    Ah yes - our infamous NC Justice System doling out an injustice again - purposely kill a police officer, and punishment is 3 free meals a day, free housing, free healthcare, free clothing, don't have to work. and you get to play cards and hang out with your buddies all day..

  • pappy1 Jan 22, 2014

    "Trouble" he put the family through? WOW

  • davido Jan 22, 2014

    Well, with 35 years he will be 76 before he can get out. Very sorry for the LEO and all the families.

  • BubbaDukeforPresident Jan 22, 2014

    I believe he regrets killing the trooper, but he still needs to pay for his crime. The proposed punishment is neither excessive nor too lenient. Hopefully prison will not turn him into a repeat offender.

  • shadyladi7 Jan 22, 2014

    He hasn't been charged with murder yet. The charges are prior to him hitting the trooper. Hopefully life w/out parole-period..

  • scubagirl2 Jan 22, 2014

    so what is he going to get for killing the SHP officer? Sounds like nothing......
    Lovely precedent NOT

  • stymieindurham Jan 22, 2014

    Who cares....

    Well, maybe the next time you have a need to "call for help" someone will also say, "who cares...."!!

  • Vietnam Vet Jan 22, 2014

    It would have been so much simpler to have simply stopped and taken whatever he had coming to him. You're not going to outrun these guys. You can't outrun a radio... If he'd just stopped nobody would have had to die. Now we have to take care of this guy for a long, long time.