Monkey Junction murder suspect makes first court appearance - WECT, weather & sports Wilmington, NC

Monkey Junction murder suspect makes first court appearance

William Patrick Bernicki (Source: NHCSO) William Patrick Bernicki (Source: NHCSO)
(Source: WECT) (Source: WECT)
Brittany Fullwood (Source: Facebook) Brittany Fullwood (Source: Facebook)

A Lumberton man accused of the fatal shooting of a Wilmington woman in the Monkey Junction area last month made his first court appearance Friday.

William James Bernicki, 48, is charged with first-degree murder in the slaying of 34-year-old Brittany Fullwood on April 25. 

Bernicki is accused of bursting into Fullwood's home on Woods Edge Road and shooting her several times before reportedly shooting himself in the face. The following day, investigators issued arrest warrants for Bernicki charging him with Fullwood's death.

Bernicki was taken to New Hanover Regional Medical Center for treatment following the shooting and remained hospitalized until Friday afternoon. Deputies served Bernicki the warrants and took him to the New Hanover County Courthouse for his first appearance.

A judge ordered that Bernicki be held under no bond.

He was then taken to Central Prison in Raleigh and put in safe keeping for additional medical treatment, according to District Attorney Ben David.

David said while it's too early to determine if his office will seek the death penalty against Bernicki, he has asked that the Capital Defender's Office be appointed to defend Bernicki. The Capital Defender's Office represents individuals that will face the death penalty.

911 calls released the day after the shooting revealed the frantic moments following the deadly encounter.

A woman, who just got home from work, called dispatch shortly after the shooting, saying, "there's gunfire, gunfire! A man running down the road said his roommate had been shot. I've heard about six shots."

When pressed by the dispatcher for more information about the shooting, the caller yelled to the man for details.

"Saw him bust through the door...and the barrel of the gun come through the door," the caller said.

Fullwood's 3-year-old son was in the backyard at the time of the shooting. He was found unharmed by deputies shortly after they arrived at the scene. Investigators said the shooting happened at Fullwood's mother's home and the boy is now in her care.

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