Warrant: Body pulled from Durham pond had been beheaded
Posted February 3, 2015
Durham, N.C. — A Durham man whose body was pulled from a pond two weeks ago had been decapitated, according to a search warrant released Tuesday.
Volunteers participating in a Martin Luther King Jr. Day of Service project on Jan. 19 discovered Trinity James Wilkins' body in the Beaver Marsh Nature Preserve, between East Club Boulevard and Interstate 85, after noticing something wrapped in a tarp in the water.
An affidavit to justify a police search of a nearby apartment states that a brown extension cord was used to tie up the gray, plastic tarp and that Wilkins' hands were bound with cloth or clothing.
Police haven't said whether Wilkins' head has been recovered.
Wilkins, 38, also known as Trinity Smith, had been missing since Nov. 24. After his body was found, investigators went to his previous address on Club Boulevard and spoke with a man there who said he had moved in two weeks earlier, according to the search warrant. The man told police that his roommate, Andrew Koko Scheper, had confessed to killing a man, cutting off his head and dumping his body in the nearby pond, the warrant states.
The man also told police that Scheper, 30, hadn't returned home after the body had been found. The search warrant states that a cadaver dog alerted investigators to evidence in the apartment, and police spotted a gray tarp similar to the one in which Wilkins' body was found.
Scheper was arrested a week later in Carrboro, and a Durham County grand jury indicted him Monday on a charge of first-degree murder.
Police seized various items from the apartment, including clothing, bedding, documents, a laptop, cellphones, a knife, the top of a mattress, the back of a desk and part of a door frame, according to the warrant.