WRAL Investigates

Edgecombe murder suspect appears in court

Posted September 2, 2009

— A Rocky Mount man appeared briefly in court Wednesday morning, a day after authorities arrested him in the slaying of one of several women found dead in rural Edgecombe County over the past four years.

Antwan Maurice Pittman, 31, said very little as he appeared on the first-degree murder charge in the death of Taraha Shenice Nicholson, whose remains were found in a wooded area in March.

Murder suspect makes brief court appearance Murder suspect makes brief court appearance

A District Court judge appointed Pittman two defense attorneys and set a probable cause hearing for Sept. 16. Pittman was at Central Prison in Raleigh Wednesday afternoon, where he was being held without bond.

Nicholson is one of five Rocky Mount women whom authorities say were reported missing and were later discovered slain within a 10-mile radius since 2005. A sixth woman who hasn't been identified, was also found in the same area.

A special task force of state and local authorities investigating each of the cases, as well as the disappearances of three other women, charged Pittman Tuesday after more than 6,000 man-hours on the investigation.

They wouldn't say if Pittman is a suspect in any of the other cases.

A look at his residential history in Rocky Mount, obtained from court records, indicates that he lived within 3½ miles from all of the known victims at the time they were reported missing, as well as three women who remain missing.

Pittman's first residence, following his release in prison in 1997, was at 104 Daniels Ave. in the Battleboro community, the same area four women, including Nicholson, were found. At one point, he also lived at 727 Columbia Ave., less than a mile from Melton Drive, where the remains of the unidentified woman were found in February.

Nicholson's mother, Diana Nicholson, as well as family members of some of the other victims, was in court for Wednesday's appearance. She chose not to talk about the arrest but expressed gratitude and relief Tuesday that one had been made.

"I would just like to know why he killed my daughter," Nicholson said. "My daughter is such a sweet girl. She wouldn't harm nobody."


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  • rebekah816 Sep 2, 2009

    I still say this doesn't seem right. Yes, he fits the geographical profile, but everything in me says they need to keep looking. I could be wrong and will readily admit it, if so, but something just doesn't work with this. I'd really like to know a bit more of his background, cuz that would give more of an indication of whether he could be capable of serial murder.

    My heart goes out to the families. I do hope it's all resolved soon, so that you can move on with your lives, as best you can.

  • kbo80 Sep 2, 2009

    Is this really legit or was he arrested just to say they have a suspect.

  • time4real Sep 2, 2009

    yep, where else am I to post it? Since there's ZERO coverage from last night's debate! Hope you treat the other 3 the same way. Wouldn't want to show bias!

  • Drakula_I_G Sep 2, 2009

    How do you know there was an accomplice?
    Pure speculation.

  • DeathRow-IFeelYourPain-NOT Sep 2, 2009

    time4real, did you mean to post that comment on this article? What School Board debate?

    But on this article, this guy won't see the light of day until he's 60 or 70. They've got him on one murder. That's all they need to lock him up for the bulk of his life.

  • killing_me_softly Sep 2, 2009

    What is the evidence? I hope that this was not a hush move.

  • raysson Sep 2, 2009

    This killer did not do this by himself. He had an accomplice to do the senseless killing of these innocent women. He was NOT alone. He knows more than he knew....The real killer is still on the loose,and he will be add it again...believe it!!!
    Edgecombe County is known for the lowlifes and bozos that roam the countryside.

  • time4real Sep 2, 2009

    wow GoLo, not a lick of coverage on the school board debate last night huh? now make sure you treat the other 3 debates the same, by not covering them, or district 2 will have a complaint to lodge!

  • jigsaw Sep 2, 2009

    He for sure fits the geographical profile that was on WRAL based on where the bodies were found and the location where he lived for years in Battleboro.

  • Sep 2, 2009

    So he doesn't fit the serial killer profile.