Local News

Murder suspect said he was shocked by victim's death

Posted February 10, 2009 10:14 a.m. EST
Updated March 9, 2009 5:12 p.m. EDT

— Wake County investigators arrested three men Tuesday – one who talked to WRAL News on Monday – in the shooting death of a man whose body was found in Knightdale.

A passer-by found the body of James Raymond Strazisar, 49, of 124 Pleasant Valley Circle, on the side of Massey Farm Road near the Country Hearth Inn in Knightdale Sunday night, authorities said.

Jason Randall Sledge, 31, of 3305 Leonard Road in Knightdale, and Charles Cameron Wheless, 51, of 920 Massey Farm Road in Knightdale, are charged with murder.

Charles Wheless and Sledge appeared in Wake County District Court Tuesday afternoon, where a judge ordered them to remain in jail without bond.

Melissa Warren Sledge, of 3305 Leonard Road in Knightdale, is charged with being an accessory after the fact of murder. Her bond was set at $250,000.

A third man, Gregory Collins Wheless, 54, of 129 Pleasant Valley Circle in Knightdale, is charged with being an accessory after the fact of murder. His bond was set at $200,000.

In an interview Monday with WRAL News, Charles Wheless said he was shocked to hear of his longtime friend's death. He said he and Strazisar were fishing buddies and co-workers, and that Strazisar had no enemies, he said.

"He was a good guy," he said. "Like I said (his shooting death) was just off the wall."

Charles Wheless also said that he thought Strazisar might have been on his way to or from a convenience store when he was killed.

"We don't know what happened," Charles Wheless said Monday. "It's just totally – it's too close to home for something like this to happen."

Sheriff Donnie Harrison said Tuesday that while the arrest remains under investigation, it appears the shooting was the result of an argument and that more arrests are possible.