WRAL Investigates

Murder charges filed in Wilson pedestrian deaths

Posted September 15, 2010 2:06 p.m. EDT
Updated September 15, 2010 9:31 p.m. EDT

— A Kenly man charged in the June deaths of two pedestrians in Wilson has been indicted on murder charges.

A Wilson County grand jury indicted Jimmy Vincent Coleman, 34, of West First Street, on two counts of second-degree murder and one count of driving while impaired. He remains in the Wilson County jail under a $100,000 secured bond.

The charges stem from the June 6 deaths of pedestrians Amie Sullivan, 25, and Nikki Whitley, 22. The two women were struck and killed in the 3400 block of Raleigh Road Parkway in Wilson as they walked home from the restaurant where Whitley worked.

Coleman also faces two counts of felony death by motor vehicle and one count of driving with a revoked license in the case.

According to state Department of Correction records, Coleman has a history of traffic offenses, including six speeding tickets since 2002 that were all resolved by guilty pleas to having an improper muffler. His driver's license had been revoked because of a previous DWI conviction.

WRAL Investigates found that Wilson County's dismissal rate for speeding tickets ranged from 11.7 to 23.5 percent over the last five years, while the statewide rate was between 5.9 and 7.2 percent during that period.

Relatives of Sullivan and Whitley have expressed outrage over Coleman's ability to continue driving with such a lengthy record of infractions.

"This man had been given every opportunity in the world to get a chance to get his life back together, and he didn't take it," Whitley's mother, Lisa Whitley, said Wednesday.

"Every day, we hear something else (abut Coleman), and every day, it gets harder and harder and harder not to judge," said Sullivan's aunt, Zebbra Kriger. "It should not have happened. Those girls didn't ask to die that day, but they did."

Lisa Whitley said losing her daughter has been difficult.

"Every day is still hard," she said. "You know, you go to sleep at night, and everything starts over the next day. Well, every morning when I wake up, I have to remember my daughter's gone."

Coleman's attorney, Terry Alford, said they look forward to trying the case.

"There are two sides to every story, and we look forward to telling our side," he said.