Local News

Raleigh woman faces second-degree murder charge in motorcyclist's death

Posted January 21, 2015

Kiera Jo Sprouse appears in a Wake County courtroom on several charges in the Jan. 19, 2015, death of Thomas Anstey.
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— A woman charged in the DWI-related death of a Cary man earlier this week on Interstate 440 in Raleigh now faces a second-degree murder charge in the case.

Police say Kiera Jo Sprouse, 23, was traveling at an estimated 113 mph just before 12:30 a.m. Monday when her car hit the back of a motorcycle, killing Thomas John Anstey, 50.

Sprouse allegedly then fled the scene and was arrested at her home in north Raleigh several hours later. According to court documents, she had a blood alcohol content of .13.

Wake County District Attorney Lorrin Freeman said Wednesday that, after further investigation, the case rose to the level of second-degree murder, based on multiple factors, including a 2012 DWI conviction in Groton, N.Y.

"Generally speaking – where there's prior conduct of drunk driving, where there are other aggravating factors – our public policy in our courts have said prosecuting someone for second-degree murder is appropriate," Freeman said. "We intend to take these cases very seriously. They are difficult cases, terrible outcomes, but it is something we are going to take seriously here. "

In addition to second-degree murder, Sprouse was also charged Wednesday with aggravated felony death by motor vehicle.

She also faces numerous other charges, including driving while impaired, hit and run causing death, failure to reduce speed to avoid a collision and driving without a license.

Court records show she also has several charges, including DWI, pending in Pitt County.

Sprouse made her first court appearance Tuesday on the original charges and was given a $1.1 million bond. However, she was being held without bond Wednesday afternoon, pending another court appearance Thursday.