Police: Salisbury man wanted in Shawn Spry murder turns himself in

Published 6:28 pm Tuesday, August 15, 2017


SALISBURY — A Salisbury man wanted in the murder of 21-year-old Shawn Spry declared his innocence after turning himself in to authorities Tuesday afternoon.

Joseph William Whitmire, 24, told reporters as he was being ushered into the Rowan County jail that Spry was his friend and he is sorry that he was killed.

“I wish I could talk to his family, but I’m innocent,” Whitmire said.

Whitmire, who is also known as Joey Portis, is being charged with murder and common law robbery.

Police were called to 210 S. Link Ave. on July 31 after someone walking by saw an unconscious man lying on the ground at the apartment complex. Family members and friends said Spry had been reported missing earlier that morning after he did not return home the night before.

Police investigators have not provided details about a motive. Spry was shot, police have said.

Spry was a standout basketball player at South Rowan High School.

“We are also very grateful for the community coming together almost immediately after the death and supplying law enforcement with valuable information that helped solve this senseless crime,” Salisbury police officials said in a statement.

The Rowan County Sheriff’s Office worked closely with the Salisbury Police Department Detective Division to solve the murder, police said.

Whitmire will have his first appearance in court Thursday. He was placed in the Rowan County Detention Center under no bond.

Contact reporter Shavonne Walker at 704-797-4253.