Three plead guilty in Rockwell man's beating death
By Sara Gregory
Three men pleaded guilty Wednesday to beating a Rockwell man and leaving him to die.
Christopher Lee Phipps, 27, will spend the rest of his life in prison for the 2006 murder of Edward Wayne Moose.
Jimmy Richard Allen II, 26, and Greg Devin Sims, 22, pleaded guilty to lesser charges of second-degree murder. Each will spend about 20 years in prison.
All three men also pleaded guilty to various charges related to breaking into Moose’s home and stealing pain medications, electronics, money and jewelry.
They went to Moose’s home after Allen suggested they would be able to get more prescription drugs there. Moose and Allen were friends.
A friend found Moose in his home in September 2006. Moose had been beaten and was left alone in his home for two days. He died in the hospital about a week later.
Sims told police the three men were hanging out and had been using drugs and alcohol.
Rowan County Sheriff’s Detective David Earnhardt said investigators found evidence of forced entry and the house was ransacked when they arrived.
Phipps told police that all three men kicked and beat Moose until he became unconscious. Allen and Sims both told police that Phipps was the only one to assault Moose.
Allen said he saw Phipps pour Cheerwine on Moose. Later, Allen saw that an oily liquid also had been poured on Moose.
Rowan County District Attorney Bill Kenerly said a medical examiner determined Moose died from blunt force trauma and also suffered a stab wound. Phipps said he stabbed Moose to “see what it was like to stab someone,” according to the statement Sims made to police, which Earnhardt read Wednesday.
The three men left the home with $150 cash, a DVD player, a VCR, a camcorder, jewelry and pills. They burned some of the electronics and discarded the camcorder. Phipps told police he spent the cash on the drug ecstacy.
“This is all over $150 and some pills,” Kenerly said.
Later that night, the men returned to Moose’s home because Phipps left a BB gun there. They stole more items during their return trip. Sims said Moose was on the floor moaning.
Moose wasn’t discovered until two days later. During that time, Allen said he called Moose from a pay phone and drove by the house. None of the three called 911.
“One wonders the outcome had Mr. Moose received prompt medical care,” Rowan County Superior Court Judge Chris Collier said.
Moose’s granddaughter, Crystal Seagraves, spoke Wednesday and told Allen she considers him responsible for leading the men to Moose’s home.
“You went there,” she said. “You knew him and you watched him lie on the floor.
“You’ve destroyed a lot of lives by what you’ve done.”
She described walking into the home and seeing her grandfather. Everything in the house had been disturbed as the men searched for drugs, she said. Photographs of Moose with Allen had fallen to the floor.
Sims and Phipps both apologized to Moose’s family.
“I am just so very sorry,” Phipps said. “If I had not been using drugs, this would not have happened.”
In the month before the murder, Phipps racked up multiple other charges. From Aug. 1 to Aug. 31, he was charged with driving while impaired and marijuana possession, in addition to assaults on two women in their 60s and a man in a wheelchair, Kenerly said.
“Mr. Phipps was on a serious crime spree,” he said.
Phipps pleaded guilty to first-degree murder exchange for a guarantee that prosecutors would not seek the death penalty. As part of the plea bargain, he pleaded guilty to the other charges.
Allen and Sims’ guilty pleas also were part of a plea deal and Allen pleaded guilty to other charges unrelated to the murder.
After his arrest, Allen was charged with conspiracy to sell or deliver drugs after sheriff’s deputies found that a Bible had been hollowed out and used to smuggle drugs into the jail in February 2007.
Phipps faces life in prison without the possibility of parole. Allen will spend between 301 and 380 months in jail, and Sims is looking at a minimum of 229 and a maximum of 293 months.
Contact Sara Gregory at 704-797-4257 or email@example.com.