3 men involved in a recent chase have previous convictions

Reported by Lynda Figueredo - bio|email
Posted by Debra Worley - email

WILMINGTON, NC (WECT) - Three men facing charges related to an incident that resulted in the death of a Wilmington Police officer all have criminal histories, according to a 25-page briefing.

The briefing reports 40-year-old Anthony Pierce had been convicted of felony robbery, felony aggravated assault, criminal conspiracy, and carrying firearms in Philadelphia in August 1994.

He was released on parole after serving a 10 year sentence and was still on parole at the time of the chase incident.

Now, Pierce is facing a second degree murder charge in the death of Wilmington Police Officer Richard Matthews.

Co-defendant Eric Smith was also on probation, having been released from federal prison for transporting guns and firearms across the Canadian border.  He has also had a number of marijuana and paraphernalia offenses throughout North Carolina.

Smith was wanted for failing to appear in court on two different instances and had active warrants for his arrest at the time of the chase incident.

Additionally, Matthew Hendy was on probation after pleading guilty to felony fleeing to elude arrest in Johnston County.

Hendy has also been convicted of three separate marijuana offenses in Forsyth County.

Prosecutors say the three men were armed and had robbed other drug dealers approximately an hour before the chase.  They were trying to outrun the other criminals, who were also armed, on Feb. 18 when they were stopped for speeding on S. College Road.

Officer Matthews was responding to a call for help from another officer when his car crashed on Shipyard Boulevard.  He died from his injuries.

"We are looking at all three defendants while the law only supports charging the driver with homicide we do not hard harmless all three in terms of what happened that night," said District Attorney Ben David.  "We are looking with our federal counterparts in order to receive maximum just with this case."

Pierce, Hendy, and Smith were all indicted by a grand jury on charges of possession of a firearm by a felon and drug possession.  All three could also face federal charges.

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