A 50-year-old Rose Hill man will spend at least the next 10 years in the North Carolina Department of Correction after pleading guilty to second degree murder in the 2011 shooting death of Rosne Fransisco Castro Dias, who was also known as Rosne Fransisco Castro Ruiz.
Herrera was sentenced earlier in the week to a minimum of 120 months and a maximum of 153 months by Superior Court Judge John Nobles of Carteret County.
According to reports, on Nov. 13, 2011, Castro-Dias and Herrera were socializing with others at a residence located at 65 Steve Harris Lane, just off of Reedsford Road, when the two began arguing. The altercation quickly escalated into a violent situation, when Herrera pulled out a small caliber firearm and shot Castro-Dias multiple times. Herrera quickly left the scene and Castro-Dias stumbled into a neighbor’s yard where he collapsed and was later pronounced dead.
Witnesses quickly called law enforcement and one flagged down a N.C. Highway Patrol state trooper, who happened to be near the area just after the shooting. The witness gave the officer a description of Herrera and the vehicle he was driving when he left the residence.
The trooper located the vehicle and followed it until appropriate back-up units could position themselves to safely stop the the suspect. The vehicle was stopped just inside Duplin County on Brice’s Store Road and Herrera was arrested.
Trooper Ricky Johnson recovered a .38-caliber revolver from under the driver’s seat of the vehicle and 15 rounds of .38 ammunition were located in Herrera’s pocket.
According to reports, Herrera told Sampson sheriff’s officers that Castro-Dias had offended him and hit him in the chest. Herrera claimed that Castro-Dias had a knife and was going to stab the him, so he decided to shoot first.
Sampson County Medical Examiner Dr. Carl Barr determined that Castro-Dias suffered five gunshot wounds — one to the upper right chest that exited the right shoulder; one to the right forearm that exited and re-entered into his chest; one to his left lower back that exited his left abdomen; one to his right mi- back without exit; one to his left mid-back without exit. He recovered three projectiles. The victim’s blood alcohol content was 160 mg/dl or approximately .16 on the intoxilyzer. The cause of death was multiple gunshot wounds, according to Dr. Barr.
In court, Herrera’s attorney indicated that he was drunk on the day of the offense. Herrera informed the court, through his interpreter, that what happened that day weighed heavily on his heart and he felt remorseful for what he had done. The family of Castro-Dias was contacted by the District Attorney’s Office prior to the guilty plea, but none of the victim’s family members were present in court.
“It is hoped that this plea of guilty will provide some sense of closure for the victim’s family,” said District Attorney Ernie Lee. “It is also further proof that drinking and guns, when present together, may resort to loss of life for a victim and loss of freedom to a defendant. Unfortunately, these events are played out far too often in this prosecutorial district, and it is the families who must now endure senseless loss.”
Lee credited hard work with bringing an end to the case.
“I appreciate the investigation of the Sampson County Sheriff’s Office and the North Carolina State Bureau of Investigation. Assistant District Attorney Robert Thigpen placed many hours in this case and through his efforts and the investigation of law enforcement a guilty plea was entered.”
To reach Doug Clark call 910-59-2837 ext. 123 or email to firstname.lastname@example.org.