Superior Court Judge Wayland Sermons sentenced William Cook to 8 months to 19 months in prison following his plea of accessory after the fact of shooting into an occupied dwelling. He sentenced Victor Mallory to 15 to 27 months for discharging a firearm into an occupied dwelling.
The pleas stem from a retaliatory shooting on Cedar Street in Weldon in which a 2-year-old girl died and her grandmother was seriously injured.
Cook drove Mallory, Semaj Short and Jamonte Moody to a place called The Cut, an alley between Cedar and Maple streets, Assistant District Attorney Keith Werner told the court. “He didn’t know what was going to transpire. He learned about it on Facebook and made an agreement to testify.”
Mallory, Werner said, was with Short and Moody, who both stood on an air conditioning unit to fire shots into a bedroom window, shots which mortally wounded the toddler, Dy’Uanna Anderson, and left her grandmother, Catherine Price, in what was then serious condition.
Mallory, however, stood on the ground and fired away from the window “so he wouldn’t have to shoot anymore,” his attorney, Jack Warmack, told the court. “He would have been the state’s star witness until Moody flipped. He’s done everything asked of him. He exercised caution to avoid serious bodily harm. He’s accepted responsibility for his role in a tragic situation.”
Sermons asked Cook how four people with no previous records came to know each other.
“I was just trying to give somebody a ride, being a good friend,” he replied.
Cook told Sermons he wanted to go to barber school and learn to cut hair after his prison stint. He apologized, saying, “I’m sorry for everything.”
Sermons said he debated probation for Cook. “You’ve been in the Halifax County Jail for not quite three years. I believe that’s punishment enough.”
Mallory said, “I ended up in a situation I wish I was never in. I shot downward so I wouldn’t hit nothing.”
Mallory told Sermons he wants to go back to school after his sentence.
“You can use this to do good the rest of your life,” Sermons told the defendants, and then to Mallory, “After a long period in jail, I didn’t put you on probation.”
The judge said he realized the situation both men face. “Because this may be tough for you, you don’t need to be out on the streets. Your best bet is to be careful about talking about it.”
The sentences of Cook and Mallory came after Moody and Short were sentenced Monday.
The murder of the toddler and the shooting of her grandmother were in retaliation for the murder of 15-year-old Keyuon Garner, who was killed on The Strip in South Weldon earlier on the evening of August 5.
Teddy Anderson, charged in Garner’s murder, is expected to be in court for the May term.
For Deputy Chief James Avens of the Weldon Police Department, the sentences Monday and this morning end a long investigation which occurred with the help of the North Carolina State Bureau of Investigation and several other agencies.
“I’m relieved and hope it will bring some closure,” Avens said after proceedings today. “It’s been a long time coming for the family and community. It was a stressful time for law enforcement with all the violence going on. The community was at unease.”
The deputy chief said he was thankful for the SBI and other agencies “which came together to close the case out. I hope the family can find some peace.”