Sex crimes suspect dies

Published 12:30 pm Monday, October 2, 2023

Getting your Trinity Audio player ready...

EDENTON – An Edenton man accused of decades-old sex crimes allegedly committed in Bertie County has died by his own hand.

Marshall Williford, age 68, committed suicide on Saturday morning. Edenton Police Chief Henry King told WITN-TV that Williford died from a self-inflicted gunshot wound shortly past 10 a.m. in the parking lot of the Chowan County Public Safety Center on West Freemason Street.

King said their investigation determined Williford’s death was a suicide.

The Roanoke-Chowan News-Herald reported last week that the North Carolina SBI arrested Williford on Sept. 22 at his residence in Edenton. At that time he was charged with four counts each of first degree kidnapping and indecent liberties with a child, and one count each of second degree rape and statutory sex offense.

On May 15 of this year, the Windsor Police Department requested the SBI investigate an alleged rape that occurred several decades ago. This investigation also included assistance from the FBI Greenville office.

In a press release, the SBI said the alleged incidents happened between 1978 and 1988. The investigation also alleges there are multiple victims whose ages range from five to 14 years old.

Williford, who was free on bond, made his initial court appearance on Friday (Sept. 29) in Bertie County Superior Court.

Local District Attorney Kim Scott told the News-Herald that due to Williford’s death, the charges against him would be abated.