Local News

Bond Denied in Grandmother's Grisly Murder

Posted May 17, 2007 1:03 p.m. EDT
Updated May 17, 2007 5:08 p.m. EDT

— A judge on Thursday declined to reduce the bond for a Rocky Mount man charged with raping, killing and mutilating his neighbor, as the man continued to profess his innocence.

Andre Demetrius Vines, 27, of 1712 Fletcher Drive, is charged with first-degree murder, first-degree rape, first-degree arson and robbery with a dangerous weapon in connection with the April 29 slaying of 65-year-old Ellen Sharpe.

Sharpe was beaten, raped and strangled, and her Rocky Mount home was set on fire to cover up evidence of her murder, police said. Her hands were severed and were taken from the scene, and they still haven't been found, police said.

Vines is being held in the Edgecombe County Jail without bond, and he asked District Judge William Stewart to set a low bond so that he could post it. He told the judge he works two jobs and needed to get back to work so he could pay child support.

Stewart said a lawyer would be appointed to represent Vines, and any questions about bond would be addressed after the lawyer takes charge of the case.

Vines denied any involvement in the crime when he was arrested Wednesday and continued to claim police picked him as their suspect because of his criminal record.

"Of course not," he said Thursday when asked outside the courtroom if he had killed Sharpe. "Unfortunately, when you have a record and circumstantial evidence kind of adds up, (police) tend to take the easiest way out."

Vines, who lived across the street from Sharpe, was convicted in 1998 of robbery with a dangerous weapon and was released from prison in 2005. Police said he also had a criminal record that involved narcotics and assault.

Police said they focused on Vines as a suspect early on, but they had to awaiting results of DNA tests performed on evidence taken from Sharpe's home.

Vines told investigators that he had visited Sharpe at her home several times before, they said. Police said they found no signs of forced entry, which made them suspect she knew her killer.

Investigators said they still don't have a motive for the slaying, but Sharpe's family said they're relieved an arrest has been made.

"I'm happy this person is off the street. I certainly want him to stay off the street," said Dorothy Boddie, Sharpe's sister-in-law. "I hope that they have the right person, and he's going to pay for the pain that he caused this loving family.

"No one deserved to be taken from us that way, (especially) someone as sweet and caring as she. It's just hard for us fathom that she died this way," Boddie said.