Callahan’s killer doomed to life in restrictive confinement

Published 5:48 pm Friday, March 8, 2024

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JACKSON – Craig Wissink, an inmate accused of killing Correctional Officer Meggan Lee Callahan in 2017, will spend the rest of his life in the most restrictive way allowed by law.

Bertie Correctional Sgt. Meggan Lee Callahan was murdered in April of 2017 by an inmate at Bertie Correctional Institute in Windsor. File Photo

Wissink, who was already serving a life sentence, was sentenced here today (Friday) to life without the possibility of parole. That sentence will begin at the expiration of his current sentence.

Additionally, Wissink was ordered to be placed in the most restrictive housing environment available to the Department of Adult Corrections for the protection of the department employees and fellow inmates. This order of the court shall be in effect for the rest of the defendant’s natural life.

It was on April 26, 2017 when Sgt. Callahan, age 29 at that time, was brutally attacked by Wissink at Bertie Correctional Institute in Windsor.

“That marked a tragic day for members of the Callahan family, the Corrections community, and our community as a whole,” stated local District Attorney Kim Gourrier Scott. “Meggan went to work that day believing she would go home like any other day, but Craig Wissink had other plans.”

Scott said that Wissink had become enraged with Sgt. Callahan because he requested that his bunk be relocated, and the request was denied. Wissink, thereafter, lured Sgt. Callahan into the inmate pod by setting a fire.

“Wissink knew that Callahan would respond, and when she did she was viciously attacked by the defendant,” Scott noted.

Despite life saving measures conducted by Bertie CI medical staff and local first responders, Sgt. Callahan succumbed to her injuries less than one hour after the attack.

Family members and friends of Callahan were present in court on Friday and shared what an exceptional human being Meggan was.

“She did not deserve to have her life cut short in such a tragic manner,” Scott said. “This day has been a long time coming for the family, but I am hopeful the conclusion of the criminal case will provide a sense of closure for the family.”

Wendy Callahan, mother of the victim, made several powerful statements at Friday’s sentencing.

“We would be so much richer with her (Meggan) being with us,” she said. “He (Wissink) owes us, not an amazing life, but a good life, where other correctional officers deserve to go home at night, inmates be safe.

“I don’t believe in death row (the death penalty), it is associated with hatred and bitterness that should not be attached to our daughter Meggan’s legacy,” Callahan continued. “I forgive you.

“There is a middle ground for everything. Meggan had a right to live, but this defendant is and was a danger to himself and everyone else,” the mother added. “The defendant told others that he was going to kill Meggan on Sunday; she was off on Monday and Tuesday, and she was killed on Wednesday. The Department of Adult Corrections has a responsibility to the people that work there, and the persons housed there, to protect everyone within those walls and they failed.

“Meggan was an angel in shoes that we will forever miss. Tomorrow is a new day and a new beginning for us,” Callahan concluded.

Wissink was also allowed to make a statement.

“I am sorry for what I have done to that family, greatly sorry,” he stated. “I know the family wants answers. I am guilty for what I’ve done, no disputing that. I am guilty of what I’ve done, I hate what I have done, I hate who I am, I don’t deserve to live, freedom, and the compassion or mercy this family has shown to me. I am grateful to the family that there were able to show mercy to me when I wasn’t able to do the same on that day.”

Scott thanked the hard work of the Windsor Police Department and the North Carolina State Bureau of Investigation on the case, and issued a special thank you to the members of the District Attorney’s Office.