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75-year-old escapes from locked trunk after assault

Authorities in Northampton County have arrested two men accused of assaulting a 75-year-old woman at her home in Conway, locking her in her car trunk to die and dousing the vehicle in gasoline.

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JACKSON, N.C. — A 75-year-old Northampton County woman escaped from a locked trunk Wednesday and was recovering at Pitt Memorial Hospital in Greenville after two men assaulted her and left her to die, authorities said.

The Northampton County Sheriff's Office arrested two men, one of whom rented a house from Annie Mae Woods, and charged them Friday with numerous crimes, including attempted first-degree murder, first-degree kidnapping, assault by strangulation and misdemeanor assault on a female, Capt. Daryl Harmon said.

Devin Scott Pallone, 18, of Rich Square, and Justin Wade Treakle, 24, of 1486 Lasker Road in Conway, were jailed under separate $150,000 secured bonds.

Harmon said that Woods was taking clothes off a clothesline at her home around 9 p.m. Wednesday when Pallone allegedly hit her over the head and then tried to strangle her.

He said Woods passed out and awoke in the car trunk several hours later. She managed to escape through a trunk release on the vehicle and call 911.

Investigators believe robbery was a motive for the attack. The home had been ransacked and cash was missing from Woods’ purse, Harmon said, although he didn't say how much.

Harmon said Woods only identified Pallone but that they were also able to connect Treakle, who rented from her, to the case. Both men spent time on Woods’ property and helped her with chores, Harmon said.

Treakle is a registered sex offender who served nearly two years in prison after being convicted of four counts of indecent liberties with a child in 2008, state Department of Correction records show

Pallone was placed on probation in June after being convicted of carrying a gun on educational property and altering a serial number.

Harmon said an attack like this is rare in Northampton County, and those who know Woods, a well-known music teacher, are stunned.

"Based on what she went through, that she survived from that, it's a big surprise," he said.

Russell Leake, the headmaster of Northeast Academy, a private school in Lasker, said she has been privately teaching the piano and guitar there for decades

"She's an icon in the community," he said.

"You question yourself, you know, what this world is coming to," he added. "You just hate to see something like this happen to anybody."


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