Geddings back in court

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, June 20, 2006

GATESVILLE – Court proceedings continue here today (Tuesday) involving a Gates County teen accused of murdering his step-grandparents.

An administrative hearing, rescheduled from February 28,

is on today’s docket at the Gates County Courthouse where the fate of Michael Chadwick “Chad” Geddings, age 17, may be resolved. According to Gates County Sheriff Ed Webb, Geddings’ lawyer, on his client’s behalf, can accept a plea bargain agreement and accompanying sentence. If the plea is not accepted, Webb said a trial date would be scheduled.

Webb said the maximum sentence, as set forth by a plea arrangement, is 33 years imprisonment per count.

All of this legal maneuvering will be heard by Gates County Chief Superior Court Judge Richard Parker.

Geddings stands accused in the slayings of Charles and Phyllis Dennis, both age 63, who were found shot to death on July 5 of last year in their Sawyer Road home near the Reynoldson community in the northern part of Gates County.

At first, the teen was sought as a “person of interest” in the case, but by late in the afternoon on the following day (Wednesday, July 6, 2005) Sheriff Webb had warrants issued for Geddings’ arrest on two counts of murder in the first degree.

Geddings was arrested later on July 6 as he exited a Virginia Beach, Va. convenience store near the oceanfront.

Sheriff Webb dispatched two members of his department to Virginia Beach where they obtained evidence collected from a 1999 Ford Explorer belonging to the murder victims, one allegedly driven by Geddings to Virginia Beach. They also transported Geddings back to Gates County.

Webb said Geddings made no statement once returning to North Carolina. He appeared before a Gates County Magistrate and was ordered to be held without bond.

Geddings was initially held at the Chowan County Jail. However, following an alleged plot to escape was unearthed by Chowan County lawmen, Geddings was taken to a prison facility in Raleigh.

All evidence processed from the murder scene as well as that found in the vehicle, including what is believed to be the murder weapon (discovered a short distance from the vehicle as it sat parked at a recreational center in Kempsville, near Virginia Beach) was processed by the SBI Crime Lab in Raleigh.

A home care nurse found the victims at approximately 2:30 p.m. on July 5. She had gone to the home to attend to surgical dressings for Charles Dennis, who, at that time, was recovering from surgery. Webb said the nurse had telephoned the couple at around 10 a.m. on Tuesday. Apparently, everything was fine at that point.

When the nurse discovered the bodies, she immediately phoned 911 and Sheriff Webb and Chief Deputy Billy Spruill responded to the scene. There, they found Charles Dennis in a living room recliner while Phyllis Dennis was on the floor in the den/dining room area. Shell casings from a handgun were found in the residence.

The teen’s father, Michael Thomas Geddings (who resides with his son next door to Mr. and Mrs. Dennis) put out a plea on local television for his son to turn himself in to authorities.

In the pre-dawn hours of Wednesday, the couple’s vehicle was discovered at the Kempsville recreation center. Webb said someone had attempted to disguise the Explorer by altering the color with spray paint and by changing the license plate. However, according to Webb, Virginia Beach police were able to identify it as the vehicle belonging to the victims through the VIN number.

Webb said several items were taken from the Dennis residence, including a credit card. Records show the card was used July 6 in the Virginia Beach area.