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Chatham County's District Attorney's office obtains fifth life sentence in less than 17 months

Posted Friday, April 2, 2010

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Pittsboro, NC - On Friday March 12, 2010, Louis Wilson began a life sentence without the possibility of parole after the Chatham District Attorney’s Office obtained a conviction for 1st Degree Murder in the bludgeoning death of Tracey Baldwin of Chatham County. The life sentence handed down on Friday by resident Superior Court Judge Allen Baddour was the fifth life sentence obtained by the Chatham County District Attorney’s office during the past 17 months.

Previously, Barbara Clark received two consecutive life sentences without the possibility of parole plus 12 years in prison for the beating death of two residents and the injury of a third resident of the Galloway Ridge retirement center. Bobby Person was also sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole for the murder of his mother in her home near Siler City. Stephen Eric Snipes received a life sentence after being tried and convicted of rape and being proven a violent habitual felon. It is believed that his conviction and life sentence as a violent habitual felon is the first conviction of its type ever in Chatham County.

Louis Ephraim Wilson III was sentenced after Superior Court Judge R. A. Baddour heard the disturbing details of the victim’s last days. Tracey Baldwin, 38 was attacked and brutally beaten in her own home at 29 Red Pine in Chatham Subdivision. The autopsy revealed she had been sexually assaulted, strangled, bound with fishing line, and bludgeoned to death. After an exhaustive investigation by the Chatham County Sheriff’s Office and the SBI; DNA, phone records, and fraudulent transactions with the victim’s credit cards tied the defendant to the crime.

The prosecutor, Kayley Taber, Managing Assistant District Attorney for Chatham County, advised the Court that it is believed the defendant used a baseball bat the victim kept near her bed for protection to deliver the fatal blows. At sentencing, the victim’s mother, Lynn Hill, delivered a moving and tearful statement to the court about the terrible loss she has suffered due to the actions of Wilson. She also thanked the District Attorney’s Office, the Chatham County Sheriff’s Office and the SBI for their commitment and dedication towards achieving justice for her daughter.

In September 2009, after a week-long trial, also prosecuted by A.D.A. Taber, Stephen Eric Snipes of Seagrove was sentenced to life in prison as a violent habitual felon after a jury found him guilty of raping a Chatham County woman. Early in the evening the defendant picked up the victim to take her to a carpet cleaning job. Instead the defendant drove her to a secluded pasture in Chatham County and forcibly raped her. The jury reached its verdict without hearing any testimony regarding the defendant’s three prior convictions for rape.

In October 2008, Barbara T. Clark of Pittsboro was sentenced to two life sentences without the possibility of parole plus 12 years for the beating death of two elderly women and the brutal assault of a third at Galloway Ridge in Chatham County. Barbara T. Clark, 41, attacked Margaret Murta, 92, her roommate Mary Corcoran, 82, and their neighbor, Rebecca Fisher, 77, with pepper spray and a cane-like object. Assistant District Attorney Kayley Taber remarked that it was one of the most brutal and senseless acts she had ever seen.

Also in October 2008, Bobby Lee Person pleaded guilty to first-degree murder and accepted a sentence of life without the possibility of parole. Person was charged in the 2007 stabbing death of his mother. Colene Person, 53, of Siler City, was found dead in her home by her husband, dead of apparent stab wounds. Her son, Bobby aka Robert, had stolen her vehicle after stabbing her during an argument.

 
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Chatham County's District Attorney's office obtains fifth life sentence in less than 17 months
Barbara T. Clark of Pittsboro, NC
 
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