Man pleads guilty in stabbing deaths of Shallotte couple

Man pleads guilty in stabbing deaths of Shallotte couple
Torrence Helms (Source: BCSO)

BRUNSWICK COUNTY, N.C. (WECT) - A man has pleaded guilty to the murder of a Shallotte couple last year.

In a Brunswick County Superior Courtroom on Monday, Torrence Helms, 32, pleaded guilty to:

  • two counts of First Degree Murder
  • one count of Attempted First Degree Murder
  • one count of Robbery with a Dangerous Weapon
  • one count of Fleeing to Elude Arrest

Helms received an active sentence of 207-261 months for the attempted murder charge, followed by a life sentence for the murder of Dennis Rowell, followed by a second life sentence for the murder of Theresa Rowell.

Helms was considered a family friend and had been staying with the Rowells on Iveystone Court at the time of the incident.

Officials say he left the home after midnight and went with a friend to South Carolina to purchase and smoke crack cocaine. Holmes returned to the residence around 4 a.m.

“At approximately 4:40 a.m., the daughter, who was stabbed multiple times by Helms, was able to escape from the house and call 911,” a news release form the District Attorney’s Office states. “During the call she reported that she had awoken to Helms stabbing her parents. Helms fled the residence in a black Kia owned by the Rowells. Deputies with the Brunswick County Sheriff’s Office spotted the vehicle while en-route to the Shallotte home and began pursuing the vehicle while other deputies and officers from nearby agencies responded to the home.

“In his attempt to escape apprehension, Helms reached speeds in excess of 100 MPH but lost control of the stolen vehicle after deputies executed a PIT (pursuit intervention technique) maneuver. The stolen vehicle caught fire after striking several trees.”

Helms fled the scene on foot but was taken into custody shortly afterward.

A law enforcement pursuit stemming from a death investigation ended in a crash Wednesday morning in Brunswick County.
A law enforcement pursuit stemming from a death investigation ended in a crash Wednesday morning in Brunswick County. (Source: WECT)

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