Robbery Suspect Found Guilty In Absentia After Running Away During Trial Recess
Posted October 29, 2003 8:45 a.m. EST
FAYETTEVILLE, N.C. — Cumberland County investigators are looking for a man who took off right in the middle of his trial.
A jury found John Bethea guilty of armed robbery Wednesday. But he was not in court for the verdict.
Bethea disappeared during recess Tuesday. He has not been seen since.
Bethea went on trial this week to face charges stemming from his July arrest. The Cumberland County Sheriff's Office had charged the 26-year-old Bethea with robbery with a dangerous weapon and felony conspiracy. He was placed on house arrest as he awaited trial.
The trial started Monday in Superior Court. After the jury was selected Tuesday, a morning recess was taken. When court resumed, Bethea did not return to the courtroom.
After the judge issued an order for Bethea's arrest, the trial continued in Bethea's absence. The jury found him guilty as charged.
The Cumberland County Sheriff's Office is looking for Bethea. Anyone with information about his possible whereabouts is asked to call the CCSO at
or the Cumberland-Fayetteville Crimestoppers at
A reward of up to $1,000 will be paid for information leading to Bethea's arrest.
Authorities say Bethea should be considered dangerous and approached with caution.