PENDER COUNTY, N.C. (WECT) - A third suspect sought in connection to the murder of a UNCW student has turned himself in, according to the Pender County Sheriff’s Office.
21-year-old Brandon Tyrell Chambers of Willard was processed in Pender County jail Wednesday and made his first court appearance Thursday morning.
A judge appointed him a capital defender and ruled he be held in jail under no bond. His next court appearance is May 13.
Chambers, Myasia Nicole Morange, 18, of Council, and Raymond Lee Brooks, Jr., 33, of Council, are accused of killing Christopher Duane Steward, 23, whose body was found at Millers Pond Park in Rocky Point on March 27.
All three suspects are charged with first-degree murder, robbery with a dangerous weapon, and conspiracy to commit armed robbery.
Morange and Brooks were arrested on Tuesday after officers with the Pender County and Bladen County sheriff’s offices executed a search warrant at an undisclosed location in Bladen County.
“Pender County Sheriff’s investigators have worked consistently on this case and followed several leads to get to these arrests,” stated Pender County Sheriff Alan W. Cutler. “I would like to thank the public for providing information and leads which helped our investigation and apprehension of these suspects.”
According to arrest warrants obtained by WECT, Morange and Brooks used a three-foot metal pole to rob Stewart of money, a cell phone and car keys. The warrants don’t state if the pole was used to kill Stewart. No other weapon is mentioned in the warrants.
Morange and Brooks made their first court appearances Wednesday morning where they both asked for court-appointed attorneys. Prosecutors said they will review the cases and determine if they will seek the death penalty.
District Attorney Ben David said they are considering capital punishment because of how “heinous, atrocious and cruel” the murder was.
Both were also denied bond by the judge.
Stewart was a junior at UNCW. His death marks the first murder of a UNCW student in more than 15 years.
Friends reached by WECT said they were relieved that at least some information has come out about the case. Family members reached out to the newsroom after feeling the case was not getting enough attention.
Stewart’s family released the following statement:
“We are very grateful for all that have helped share his story, prayed, and supported our family during this tragedy. We appreciate all of the love and kind words that have been sent to us. We are so proud of everything he achieved and all the lives he touched.”
If you have any information that could help deputies, please call the Pender County Sheriff’s Office at (910) 259-1212.