Local News

Arrest Made In Death Of Sampson County Store Owner

Posted February 5, 2003 3:33 a.m. EST

— There has been an arrest in the murder of a well-loved country store owner in Sampson County.

Authorities have arrested and charged Daniel Riley for the murder of store owner R.B. Matthews. Authorities say the arrest came after they received tips from people who were at a roadblock in front of the store.

"We were able to gather from that a lot of information, which led us to Mr. Riley," said Sampson County Sheriff Jimmy Thornton.

Matthews was found dead in front of his store last week. Authorities say Riley was often a customer at Matthews' store. At times, employees say, Matthews extended his kindness toward Riley by letting him buy groceries on credit.

"He paid really well for the first six times or so, and then he didn't pay, and from that point on, to my knowledge, he has not been back in here," employee Margaret Fisher said.

Fisher said Riley had not been in the store in months and still owed $120.

Originally, Gary Matthews, R.B.'s son, thought his father had been shot when he found him, but an autopsy showed he had been beaten to death over the head.

The store opened Wednesday with new security policies in place. The store will not stay open at night and will be closed on Sundays.

Investigators continue to search the area for the murder weapon.