Published 9:55 am Tuesday, October 4, 2016

WINTON – Three men from the Aulander area are currently behind bars without bond here in the Hertford County Jail, arrested early Sunday morning in last week’s murder of a local businessman.

Hertford County Sheriff Dexter Hayes said 18-year-old Franklin Jones of Millennium, along with Bobby Askew and Nicholas Cooper, both 19 of Aulander, stand charged with one count each of felony murder.

Bobby Askew

Bobby Askew

Hayes added that other charges are pending.

The victim, Uday Manik, age 56 of Conway, was shot multiple times while behind the wheel of his vehicle sometimes around 9 p.m. last Thursday.

Manik owns the Sonoco Convenience Store (the former Red Apple Market) at the intersection of NC 11 Business and NC 305 (Commerce Street) in downtown Aulander as well as the Woodland Supermarket in that Northampton County town.

It was reported that Manik had closed the Sonoco Convenience Store at the normal time on Sept. 29 and was en route home at which time he was apparently ambushed at the intersection of NC 561 and NC 305 near Tri-County Airport.

Nicholas Cooper

Nicholas Cooper

“I cannot at this time go into any detail of what led us to these three suspects, but I can say we initially listed them as suspects and following an investigation and conducting interviews we took the case we have built to this point to the magistrate and he found probable cause,” Hayes said on Sunday.

Hayes added that the arrest warrants were drawn Saturday night and a plan was then developed to serve those documents.

“I contacted my off-duty deputies as well as (Bertie) Sheriff (John) Holley and the Aulander Police Department to meet at the Aulander PD so we could carry out these arrests simultaneously at different residences,” Hayes said.

The Hertford County Sheriff added that Jones was taken into custody at his residence; Askew was picked-up in Murfreesboro; and Cooper was located and arrested in Bertie County.

“Even in this tragic death, it was a good day on Sunday to call Mr. Manik’s family to tell them that those responsible for the murder of their loved one had been arrested,” Hayes stated.

Franklin Jones

Franklin Jones

Hayes said even though arrests have been made, there are other factors in this case that his investigators are continuing to work on, to include a motive and exactly how the three suspects pulled off the ambush-style shooting.

“That all will come out eventually, but for right now we’re happy to report that three arrests have been made,” Hayes noted. “I need to thank the SBI for their assistance in the investigation as well as thanking Sheriff Holley and his staff and the Aulander Police for all their assistance in making these arrests.

“And I can’t thank my guys enough, especially Investigators Brian Chichester and Tom Helms, they have worked tirelessly on this case since last Thursday night. And thanks to my off-duty guys who volunteered to come in and ensure the safety of all involved in making these arrests,” Hayes concluded.

The three suspects are scheduled to make their initial appearance today (Tuesday) in Hertford County District Court.

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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