Woodland man sentenced to life in murder case

Published 9:50 am Friday, January 19, 2024

JACKSON – A 28-year-old Woodland man will spend the rest of his life behind bars, without the possibility of parole, for the role he played in a 2017 robbery / home invasion that ended in murder.

Eric Vaughan Jr.

Yesterday (Thursday) in Northampton County Superior Court, the jury found Eric M. Vaughan Jr. guilty of first degree murder, second degree kidnapping, first degree burglary, and first degree armed robbery.

Vaughan was sentenced to life without parole for first degree murder conviction, 44-to-65 months for second degree kidnapping, 111-to-146 months for first degree burglary, and 111-to-146 months for first degree armed robbery.

The incident occurred on Sept. 22, 2017 at approximately 11:40 pm in Arrowhead Mobile Home Park, located on NC 35 between Woodland and Potecasi. There, Vaughan was involved in an armed robbery home invasion with several other subjects.

Edward Phipps, a 50-year-old male of the home that was broken into, sustained several gunshot wounds and later passed away from his injuries.

After an extensive investigation, Northampton Sheriff’s Captain Patrick Jacobs obtained warrants on Vaughan less than two weeks after the murder. Vaughan was originally charged with one count of first degree murder, two counts of first degree kidnapping, six counts of second degree kidnapping, one count of injury personal property, one count of robbery with a dangerous weapon, one count of conspiracy to robbery with a dangerous weapon, one count of first degree burglary, and one count of larceny after breaking and entering.

The kidnapping charges were due to the fact there were at least eight individuals, to include children under the age of 16, at the Phipps residence at the time of the home invasion. They were all held against their will.

Along with Vaughan, four others were arrested and charged in the murder case.

In October of last year, Deshy Gatling of Ahoskie pled guilty in Northampton County Superior Court to second-degree murder and armed robbery

Also charged but yet to stand trial are Raquan Omar Williams of Woodland, Shirley Williams of Murfreesboro, and Deshawn Lamont Beverly of Cofield.

Raquan Williams is charged with first-degree murder, eight counts of first degree kidnapping, three counts of robbery with a dangerous weapon, and one count each of first degree burglary, larceny after breaking and entering, and injury to personal property.

Shirley Williams and Beverly were each charged with one count of first degree murder, two counts of first degree kidnapping, six counts of second degree kidnapping, one count of larceny after breaking and entering, one count of conspiracy to commit robbery with a dangerous weapon, one count of first degree burglary, one count of robbery with a dangerous weapon, and one count of injury to personal property.

The Northampton County Sheriff’s Office would like to especially thank members of the Sheriff’s Office that assisted with this investigation, the NC State Bureau of Investigations for their assistance in this original investigation, and the District Attorney’s Office for an outstanding job with this case trial.

“We are thankful that the family members of the victim has justice on their side for the loss of their love one and justice for the other victims in this case for the horrific events they experienced on 9/22/2017,” Capt. Jacobs said in a statement.