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Rocky Mount man gets 33 years in neighbor's grisly death

Posted July 1, 2008

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— A Rocky Mount man accused of killing his neighbor, mutilating her body and setting her apartment on fire to cover up evidence was sentenced Tuesday to a maximum of 42 years in prison.

Andre Demetrius Vines, 28, pleaded guilty to second-degree murder and first-degree arson in connection with the April 29, 2007, death of Ellen "Lois" Sharpe.

Vines will spend a minimum of 33 years and nine months in prison, under the plea deal.

Police said Sharpe, 65, was beaten, raped and strangled and that her hands were severed and taken from the crime scene.

"No one deserves to die that way," Sharpe's sister-in-law, Dorothy Boddie, said. "He severed both hands, and this court, this DA is going to give him a slap on his. That's what it feels like to me."

But Edgecombe County Assistant District Attorney Steve Graham said in court Tuesday that the state wanted to ensure Vines was punished severely and that the only way it would happen was through the plea deal.

Graham went on to say that the state had legitimate concerns about the original charges – first-degree murder, first-degree rape, first-degree arson and robbery with a dangerous weapon – but would not elaborate.

Sharpe's family, however, said prosecutors did not have enough evidence to take the case to trial.

Neither Assistant District Bill Wolfe, who prosecuted the case, nor District Attorney Howard Boney would comment on the plea deal outside court.

"Lois' justice was not served today," Boddie said, calling the punishment an insult to Sharpe and her family.

"It's like he really did nothing, and it's still not over for me," she said. "We are not happy with this decision at all."

33 Comments

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  • iamforjustice Jul 2, 2008

    Sorry "justice", I don't believe you when you say it was the wrong story you were commenting on. Get real. Prejudice runs both ways.
    watvr
    I really get tired of white people always bringing race into a crime. Give me a break.

  • Dr. Dataclerk Jul 2, 2008

    Maybe he will get his just in prison. In prion some don't tolerate the actions of other criminals coming in.

  • humbleblaklady Jul 2, 2008

    Since most people here agree that "Only God can pass judgment"; why don't we "send him to God" and let God do his job? Maybe the Devil doesn't even want him; but evidently, we (here on earth) wants to keep him around. WHY? In the "old" days, prisoners had some sense of "human value" and thus, child molesters, or those who harmed elderly people could expect "a second sentence" once they were "inside". But unfortunately, TODAY's prisoners are much younger and don't give a ---- about anyone, not even themselves. Thus, this idiot probably will be able to keep that cheap grin on his face even in prison. Maybe, since we've got to pay for his upkeep for the next 33 to 42 yrs. Can we at least save money by feeding him ONLY bread and water and letting him stay "naked" in prison? Then it would only cost us shelter and electricity.

  • humbleblaklady Jul 2, 2008

    If you ever want an indication of WHAT JUSTICE will be meted out for any crime--just go to the RACE of the victim. Whether you want to deal with it or not, the TRUTH is that violent crimes against non-whites, are treated differently from "charges" to "conviction and punishment". THAT IS JUST A FACT--HISTORICALLY, STATISTICALLY OR AS WITNESSED BY THOSE OF US WHO LIVE IT!
    Having stated that FACT. I am in agreement with most of the writers here in terms of "OUTRAGE" at "plead bargaining" with this animal. I say, since we have already sanctioned vigilante justice in Texas, that we begin to save everyone some heartache, trauma and grief; and the taxpayers a lot of money, by simply turning over the perpetrator of these outrageous violent crimes, to the family members of the victim. SWIFT, QUICK AND JUST!

  • watvr Jul 1, 2008

    Sorry "justice", I don't believe you when you say it was the wrong story you were commenting on. Get real. Prejudice runs both ways.

  • cynsless1 Jul 1, 2008

    No death penalty, You got to be kidding me.

  • iamforjustice Jul 1, 2008

    iamforjustice can determine guilt or innocense by the color of the accused's skin. It's easy really, just put on a nice pointy hat and you too can see how it works.
    meh2
    July 1, 2008 7:45 p.m.
    Report abuse
    What does the color of his skin have to do with anything. And to the rest. Wrong story I was commenting on. But still...I don't understand this comment. Please elaborate.

  • meh2 Jul 1, 2008

    iamforjustice can determine guilt or innocense by the color of the accused's skin. It's easy really, just put on a nice pointy hat and you too can see how it works.

  • annemarek Jul 1, 2008

    33 years is not enough of a punishment for this guy. 33 years for this guy is an injustice to society and a respect for life. Life without parole or the death penalty would have been the only way to go. Reduce taxes and put this fellow to death.

  • steinbeck18 Jul 1, 2008

    Andre Demetrius Vines, 28, pleaded guilty to second-degree murder and first-degree arson in connection with the April 29, 2007, death of Ellen "Lois" Sharpe.
    Vines will spend a minimum of 33 years and nine months in prison, under the plea deal.

    IF he was "innocent" as one person posted, why did he plea 2nd degree? I think it is a crying shame that this is suppose to serve as 'justice' Ellen Sharpe deserved better than this.

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