A Duplin County man who was charged with the murder of a man more than five years ago will serve at least 34 years in prison following a guilty plea Friday in Sampson County Superior Court, during which the details of the grisly case were recounted leading up to the sentencing.
Terrill Dewight Wells, 34, was lead into court Friday morning for his plea and subsequent sentencing. With his attorney Scott Jackson by his side, Wells pleaded guilty to second degree murder, two counts of robbery with a dangerous weapon and attempted robbery with a dangerous weapon following a series of questions from presiding Judge Charles Henry.
Wells was sentenced to no less than 417 months (34 years) and no more than 550 months (45 years) in prison for the murder of Gary Lee West Jr., 34, of Bill Town Road, Garland, and robbery charges. West suffered massive blunt force trauma to his head after being shot once in the side.
On Jan. 5, 2012, Wells, along with Jennifer Lynn Norris, drove to the home of West to purchase drugs. At some point, Wells and West got into an argument and an altercation, when West was shot. Deputies were then dispatched to the scene at 2:45 a.m., when West’s mother, Maritha Boney, called 911 and hysterically explained that her son had been shot.
As Boney and other family members sat in the courtroom Friday, district attorney Ernie Lee began going through the details of the horrific death of West, and the robbery of both West and Boney and attempted robbery of West’s grandmother, Eldora Herring.
Officers were able to get a description of the vehicle that left the premises, which was later stopped. Both Wells and Norris were found, as was bloody tissues, 10 $100 bills, lottery tickets and a wallet that carried identification of West.
Two weapons were later found in a ditch near the scene of the crime, which Lee said were traced back to Wells.
Upon questioning, both Wells and Norris placed the blame on each other. Norris gave a statement to deputies that Wells drove over West’s body, causing the trauma to his head and leading to his eventual death.
Both Boney and Herring provided statements to authorities at the time, stating that Wells put a gun to Boney’s head and made threats towards both women and the three children that were in the home at the time. Lee explained to the courtroom that one of West’s children, who was nine years old at the time, begged Wells not to shoot anyone.
Surrounded by her family, Boney stood before the court, sharing the difficulties she has now and her story of having to raise three of West’s children.
“He (Wells) shouldn’t have taken my son’s life,” Boney shared, tears streaming down her face. “He (West) was a good man and would give you the shirt off his back.”
For the last five years, Boney says she has wanted one thing from Wells, but hasn’t gotten it.
“I have asked why,” Boney said. “But I haven’t gotten any answers. Saying sorry doesn’t heal my heart.”
In all, Wells was sentenced to 200-252 months for the second degree murder, 78-106 months for the robbery of West, 78-106 months for the robbery of Boney and 61-86 months for the attempted robbery of Herring.
Reach Kristy D. Carter at 910-592-8137, ext. 2588. Follow us on Twitter at @SampsonInd. Like us on Facebook.