Local News

Suspect in Wayne Community College shooting confesses in court

Posted April 14, 2015 4:16 p.m. EDT
Updated April 14, 2015 5:08 p.m. EDT

— A man accused of fatally shooting a Wayne Community College employee confessed to the crime during his first appearance in a Florida courtroom Tuesday.

Kenneth Morgan Stancil III, who is charged with murder in the Monday morning slaying of college print shop manager Ron Lane, told a judge in an obscenity-laden admission that he “ridded one last child molester from the Earth.” Stancil accused Lane of “messing” with a family member.

Investigators have not discussed a motive in the shooting and said they are looking into the possibility that it was a hate crime. They would not elaborate but confirmed to WRAL News that Lane’s sexual orientation and Stancil’s possible affiliation with white supremacist groups or gangs are being examined.

Neither man has a criminal record.

Stancil, who will be extradited to North Carolina, appeared relaxed when he was brought into the courtroom, addressed the judge as “sir” and told him he doesn’t blame him for recommending no bond in his case. Before Stancil’s admission in court, the judge and an attorney tried to advise him of his right to remain silent.

“Doing time’s the easy part, you know what I’m saying,” Stancil said as he was ushered out of the courtroom.

Investigators said Stancil, 20, carried a 12-gauge pump shotgun into the Wayne Learning Center shortly after 8 a.m. Monday, went to the third-floor print shop and fired a single shot, killing Lane, 44. He fled campus on a motorcycle, which a state trooper found abandoned in the median of Interstate 95 South in Lumberton later that morning.

Stancil was arrested about 1:20 a.m. Tuesday in Daytona Beach, Fla., after law enforcement officers found him sleeping on the beach, which is illegal.

"I can say with confidence that Mr. Stancil had a calculated plan, and he carried out that plan," Goldsboro police Sgt. Jeremy Sutton said Tuesday.

It's unclear how Stancil traveled from Lumberton to Florida. Authorities said help from the media, the public and numerous law enforcement agencies led to his capture.

Sutton said the gun used in the slaying has not been recovered. He also said investigators are examining evidence seized from Stancil's home on Old Mount Olive Highway in Wayne County.

College officials said Stancil was a previous work-study student who reported to Lane. He was dismissed from the federally funded program at the beginning of March because of too many absences, college President Kay Albertson said.

College officials and investigators said they do not know of a connection between Lane and Stancil beyond their relationship as student and employee.

Classes at the college resumed Tuesday, and extra security was on campus to make sure students felt safe. Counseling was also available.

Before classes, staff members and Albertson gathered at the center of campus, where a memorial for Lane was created. Albertson said Lane had a sweet soul.

The calm was in contrast to a day earlier, when the shooting prompted a lockdown as officers conducted a room-by-room search for the gunman. One building was cleared by tear gas when they mistakenly thought they had the gunman isolated.

"We are relieved at the apprehension of Mr. Stancil. The college is operating today. It's a day of healing," college spokeswoman Tara Humphries said. "We will be paying personal tributes to Ron Lane today, and later in the week we will plan a celebration of his life."