09/15/06 — Duplin killer sentenced

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Duplin killer sentenced

By News-Argus Staff
Published in News on September 15, 2006 1:47 PM

KENANSVILLE -- James Theodore Pearsall of Rose Hill was sentenced to more than 20 years in prison this week after a Duplin County jury found him guilty of second-degree murder in the shooting death of Matthew Hooks on May 27, 2005.

Hooks died at Pearsall's home on Bryant Newkirk Road outside Rose Hill. Hooks had spent the previous night at Pearsall's house. On the morning of May 27, Pearsall asked Hooks to leave his residence, and Hooks refused, according to testimon in court.

Prosecutors said that after an argument, Pearsall went out his back door and ran to a woods behind his house, with Hooks following him. Pearsall picked up a shotgun that was hidden in the woods, pointed the weapon at Hooks, told him to leave and then shot him once in the chest, investigators said. District Attorney Dewey Hudson said Pearsall then ran into the woods and discarded the weapon.

The Duplin County Sheriff's Department investigated and requested assistance from the State Bureau of Investigation. Agent Scott Kennedy headed up the assistance provided by the State Bureau of Investigation.

The day after the shooting, Kennedy and Duplin Sheriff's Detective Linda Tyson took Pearsall into custody without incident.

The jury deliberated about three and a half hours Tuesday before rendering the verdict.