Divers search for murder weapon

Published 11:09 am Saturday, October 15, 2011

AHOSKIE – The murder case is building against an Ahoskie teen.

Meanwhile, new information has been made public, including where and how 30-year-old Jason Jermaine Harrell of Cofield was killed, allegedly at the hands of

Frederick Scott Williams Jr., 17, of Ahoskie.

On Friday, divers from the Southampton County (Va.) Sheriff’s Office probed the waters of Ahoskie Creek at the Stoney Creek bridge on US 13 where the murder weapon was believed to have been discarded. That area has been closed to thru traffic since June to allow for the bridges to be replaced.

“Information gained from our investigation in this case led us to that particular area,” Hertford County Sheriff Juan Vaughan said.

The team of three divers arrived at the creek around 9 a.m. By mid-afternoon, their slow, methodical search in 12 to 14 feet of water – performed by following a weighted dive rope stretch from one bank to the other and feeling their way along the creek bottom – had yet to produce the weapon.

Also on Friday, Vaughan released a few new details in the case. The sheriff said Harrell apparently went to Williams’ residence, located on the Ward Road off US 13 near the Hertford-Bertie County line, sometimes Sunday afternoon.

“At that point we believe an altercation took place between the two men, resulting in the murder,” Vaughan said. “Mr. Williams then placed Mr. Harrell in his (Harrell’s) car and drove it to a path off Ward Road, discarding the body and leaving the car there.”

The results from an autopsy, performed Wednesday in Greenville, are not yet finalized. However, Vaughan said Harrell was shot several times.

The sheriff did not release information regarding a motive for the murder. Additionally, no information was released on whether or not the suspect and the victim were acquaintances.

Vaughan did say that the investigation revealed Williams acted alone.

“There are several rumors circulating about others being involved in this murder,” Vaughan said. “Our investigation is showing that Mr. Williams is the lone suspect. There is no evidence of others being involved. We are not looking for any other suspect or suspects.”

Harrell’s body was discovered shortly after 4 p.m. on Tuesday by a hunter. Vaughan said the body was approximately 500 yards up the path.

“The hunter saw a car, later identified as victim’s vehicle, and noticed a sheet lying on the ground behind that car that appeared to be covering a body,” Vaughan said in an earlier statement. “Upon making that discovery the hunter immediately contacted the sheriff’s office.”

Harrell was last seen by his family on Sunday, according to the sheriff. The family alerted the sheriff’s office on Monday evening of his disappearance.

Williams was arrested around 1 a.m. Wednesday at a relative’s home located on the Rock Pile Road in Bertie County near Powellsville. He is currently being held without bond in the Hertford County Jail. His first court appearance is scheduled for Tuesday, Oct. 18.

About Cal Bryant

Cal Bryant, a 40-year veteran of the newspaper industry, serves as the Editor at Roanoke-Chowan Publications, publishers of the Roanoke-Chowan News-Herald, Gates County Index, and Front Porch Living magazine.

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