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Rontae Devore Hayes Sentenced to Minimum 53 Years in 2016 NC Multiple Murders
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Thread: Rontae Devore Hayes Sentenced to Minimum 53 Years in 2016 NC Multiple Murders

  1. #1
    Senior Member CnCP Legend CharlesMartel's Avatar
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    Apr 2014

    Rontae Devore Hayes Sentenced to Minimum 53 Years in 2016 NC Multiple Murders

    Rontae Devore Hayes

    State prosecutor to seek death penalty against Rontae Hayes

    WENTWORTH For the first time since 1999, the Rockingham County District Attorneys Office will prosecute a capital murder case.

    Assistant District Attorney Stephanie Reese stated during a pre-trial conference on Tuesday in Rockingham County Superior Court that she intends to seek the death penalty against a man charged with killing two and injuring several others during an overnight crime spree in the summer of 2016.

    Rontae Devore Hayes, 38, of 4704 Fewell Road in Greensboro, faces 18 felony charges in Rockingham County including two counts of murder, two counts of attempted first-degree murder, two counts of first-degree kidnapping, three counts of assault with a deadly weapon with intent to kill inflicting serious injury, violent habitual felon, first-degree burglary and first-degree arson.

    According to police, Hayes began a 12-hour crime spree at approximately 9 p.m. on Saturday, June 11, 2016, after showing up unexpectedly at a backyard barbecue taking place in the 100 block of Madison Street in Reidsville.

    Witnesses said Hayes allegedly shot Leroy Angelo Blackwell in the leg, shattered a beer bottle over the head of Craig Lee, and drove over Gregory Tyrone Blackwell in the process of stealing Blackwell's car.

    Ten minutes later, authorities with the Rockingham County Sheriffs Office responded to a different scene, approximately seven miles away at a residence on Knowles Road, where 49-year-old Kavin Allen Galloway was found with a gunshot wound. They also located the vehicle stolen from Blackwell ablaze and just two houses away from the new crime scene.

    Hours later, at approximately 1:30 a.m. Sunday, firefighters found the bodies of Mike Land and Gilbert Breeze dead inside a burning house on Grooms Road.

    An older woman, also at the residence, was also located by police officers with wounds to her head and areas of her face.

    Later, when being transported to a local hospital, the woman told paramedics that she had been raped.

    An hour after the Grooms Road incident, deputies were dispatched to 121 Jack Trail in Reidsville, where a homeowner spotted Hayes peeping from outside a window, wearing only in his underwear.

    The incident was caught on the residents security system.

    In the following hours, the sheriffs office issued public text alerts to local residents warning them of their search for an armed and dangerous suspect and to keep their doors locked.

    With the help of nearly 50 officers from local and state agencies, Hayes was eventually captured at approximately 9 a.m. near Busick and Grooms Road.

    Officers were able to connect the suspect to the line of crime scenes by locating Hayes drivers license in Blackwells car and the scattering of dry-cleaning tickets at each crime scene that were also found in Blackwells vehicle.

    That night of violent crimes took place less than four days after a first-degree murder charge against Hayes was dropped and he was released from jail after being the primary suspect in the shooting death of Larry Bud Settle Jr. in Eden on April 26.

    Reese said the state was proceeding with the death penalty in the case due to several aggravating circumstances, which stem from Hayes long and violent criminal history in the Triad.

    Per state statute, Superior Court Judge Julia Lynn Gullet approved the appointment of Forsyth County Assistant Capital Defender William Soukup as assistant council to Hayes, who is represented by fellow Forsyth Assistant Capital Defender Vincent Rabil.

    According to previous reports, Hayes went missing for three years as a juvenile, after being charged with assault at the age of 15.

    Published reports state that in 1993, Hayes rode on a bike to a bus stop outside of High Point Central High School and shot two students at the end of the school day.

    He was later charged with assault in the matter, after police began searching for him when he returned to the area a week later, following the death of his father, who was shot in the back 15 times.

    While being lodged at a juvenile detention center in Greensboro awaiting trial, Hayes escaped in 1994.

    After clearing an 8-foot fence, Hayes wasnt seen by law enforcement again until 1997, when he was arrested by the Reidsville Police Department for disorderly conduct.

    His was identified as a fugitive after his arrest and later convicted of the high school shooting, before being paroled two years later.

    Hayes later pleaded guilty in the shooting death of Gary Steverson, who was one of two brothers convicted of shooting Hayes father 40-year-old Ronnie Lee Hayes in July of 2000.

    He was sentenced to nine years in prison.

    Hayes was also sentenced to eight years in prison last February on a federal charge of possession of a firearm by a convicted felon. After pleading guilty, pursuant to an amended plea agreement, Hayes appealed the guilty decision to the United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit in September of 2017.

    In early October of that year, three circuit judges concluded that the United States District Court for the Middle District of North Carolina gave Hayes a sentence that is "procedurally and substantively reasonable".

    The rule 24 hearing, which stems from Rule 24 of the General Rules of Practice for the Superior and District Court in North Carolina, is mandatory in all cases in which a defendant is charged with a crime that is punishable by death.

    According to North Carolina General Statute 15A-2004, The state in its discretion may elect to try a defendant capitally or noncapitally for first degree murder, even if evidence of an aggravating circumstance exists.

    Currently, 142 convicted murders are on death row in the state of North Carolina, according to information tallied by the North Carolina Department of Public Safety.

    The last execution in the state took place on Aug. 18, 2006, when Samuel Flippen was executed via lethal injection.

    At the start of 2007, a moratorium was placed on executions in the state, following legal challenges to execution procedure and whether or not it violates an individuals constitutional protection against cruel and unusual punishment.

    Since the start or 2010, only eight convicted murderers have been sentenced to death in the state.

    Nobody has been sentenced to death row in the last two years.

    Clinton R. Rose, who was sentenced to death in December of 1991, is the only killer convicted in Rockingham County that remains on death row.

    In recent history, natural death has played the biggest role in a reduction of members on the death row roster.

    In 2017 alone, five death row inmates, whose average age was 64, died of natural causes.

    Since 2015, 13 offenders have been removed from the states death row roster.

    Of those, eight were removed after dying of natural causes, according to the North Carolina Department of Public Safety.

    In the other five cases, a sentence was vacated and a new trial was ordered, or the offender was re-sentenced to life without parole.

    The Hayes case is expected to return to the Rockingham County Superior Court Calendar in November.

    Its the first capital case the Rockingham County District Attorneys Office has handled since the October 2000 conviction of Christene K. Kemmerlin, who was found guilty as a murder-for-hire defendant in the 1999 shooting death of her husband, Wayne Kemmerlin.

    Kemmerlins execution was vacated by the North Carolina Supreme Court in January 2003 and a life sentence was imposed.

    Last edited by CharlesMartel; 09-07-2018 at 05:20 AM. Reason: Added headline
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  2. #2
    Administrator Helen's Avatar
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    Jan 2013
    Toronto, Ontario, Canada
    Violent felon Rontae Hayes dodges death penalty with plea deal

    By Jim Sands and Susie C. Spear
    Greensboro News & Record

    WENTWORTH Rontae Hayes, known for a spree of murders, arson, kidnapping and assault during a 2016 Rockingham County crime binge, avoided the death penalty by accepting a plea arrangement Thursday in Rockingham County Superior Court.

    Rockingham County District Attorney Jason Ramey had sought capital punishment for Hayes, 41, of Greensboro, who has been held in the Rockingham County Detention Facility since his 2016 arrest. An April capital trial date had been cancelled due to the pandemic.

    Instead, prosecutors, led by Rockingham County's Senior Assistant District Attorney Stephanie Reese, agreed to a plea deal that will keep Hayes behind bars for a minimum of 53 years.

    "Hell never see the light of day, said Ramey, who added that he's satisfied with the resolution of a case that might otherwise have faced multiple delays getting to trial because of COVID-19 health restrictions.
    Senior Resident Rockingham County Superior Court Judge Ed Wilson Jr. allowed Hayes to plead guilty to two counts of second-degree murder during Thursdays three-hour hearing.

    Defense team leader Vince Rabil, an assistant capital defender for the state based in Forsyth County, and Hayes' family members asked for leniency in his sentence.

    Rabils witnesses, including forensic psychiatrist James Bellard, described Hayes as suffering from lifelong mental illness and psychosis during the 12-hour June 2016 crime jag that ended with authorities discovering Hayes nude and hiding in a Rockingham County briar thicket.

    Ramey said the plea agreement was a way for his office to protect against the possibility of Hayes being deemed mentally incompetent by a jury and sentenced to a psychiatric facility with no guarantee of a lengthy detention.

    If he had been found not guilty by reason of insanity he would have been committed to a psychiatric facility,'' Ramey said. " ... for all we know, he would have been out in 10 years. That was a scary prospect to the state and a risk we were not willing to take.

    This plea will make sure hes in prison for the rest of his life and that society is safe from him.

    Rabil, however, had hoped for less time.

    "We were disappointed that the sentences were so long, but thankful the plea was accepted by the court and that Mr. Hayes was spared from possibly receiving two death sentences,'' Rabil said.

    About a dozen of Hayes family members, including his daughter and fiance, gathered in solidarity with the man who has been on the wrong side of the law since age 15.

    Hayes now faces a sentence of 45 years for the murder charges and an additional eight years for a federal weapons violation.

    Time wont be Hayes only burden while in Central Prison, Ramey said, noting Hayes suffers from an intermediate stage of chronic polycystic kidney disease.

    Before accepting the plea agreement, which allowed Hayes to plead guilty to lesser charges, Hayes faced felony charges, including: two counts of first degree murder, three counts of assault with a deadly weapon with intent to kill, inflicting serious injury, first degree arson, burning personal property, and one count each of assault on a government official, possession of a firearm by a convicted felon and larceny of a firearm.

    Hayes' daughter, U.S. Army Private Second Class China Cunningham, flew in from Hawaii to attend the hearing. She stood before the court wearing her uniform and expressed love for her troubled father.

    Before sentencing Hayes, Wilson, a lieutenant colonel in the Army, said: I believe what your daughter and fiance have said about you, but deep down, they know and you know, you cant ever get out of prison again. Thats just the facts of life. You cant be allowed to be free again. So Im going to give you as much time as I can.

    Rabil and Bill Soukup, also an assistant capital defender, presented the state with some 50 pages of documentation of Hayes mental illness history, the cornerstone of his insanity defense.
    During the frenzied crimes, Hayes maimed, murdered and destroyed property for more than a dozen hours at three different crime scenes four summers ago.

    At about 9 p.m. on June 11, 2016, Hayes showed up unexpected to a Saturday backyard barbecue in the 100 block of Reidsvilles Madison Street.

    It was no picnic.

    He shot Leroy Angelo Blackwell in the leg, broke a beer bottle over the head of Craig Lee and ran over Gregory Tyrone Blackwell in the process of stealing the mans car.

    Some 10 minutes later, police were alerted to more crimes. Hayes had traveled seven miles to a residence on Knowles Road in Reidsville where he wounded Kavin Allen Galloway, 49, with a gunshot before abandoning the stolen vehicle, ablaze, two houses away.

    By about 1:30 a.m. on June 12, firefighters found Mike Land and Gilbert Breeze dead inside a burning house on Grooms Road in Reidsville. An 80-year-old woman, assaulted by Hayes, was discovered by authorities in the carport of the burning house.

    About an hour later, a Reidsville homeowner saw Hayes, clad only in his underpants, peeping into a window at 121 Jack Trail and captured the suspect on a security video.

    The sheriffs office subsequently rounded up 50 officers from local and state agencies, cautioned Reidsville residents through text alerts to lock doors and scoured the region with helicopters and bloodhounds in the search for Hayes.

    By around 9 a.m., authorities found Hayes tangled up in the woods near Busick and Grooms Roads in Reidsville where they had to saw him free.

    Authorities had clues to link him to the string of felonies, for Hayes had left a tell-tale trail of dry cleaning tickets at each crime scene receipts which were also found in Blackwells stolen car. Police further discovered Hayes drivers license in the charred stolen vehicle.

    No less than four days before Hayes committed the Rockingham crimes, he was released from jail as a primary suspect in an unrelated murder charge by Craig Blitzer, who served as district attorney at the time, court records show. Hayes had faced a first-degree murder charge in the April 26, 2016 death of Larry Bud Settle Jr. in Eden, but charges were dropped on June 7, 2016.

    Reflecting on the crimes Friday, Sheriff Sam Page recalled the large scope of the felonies.

    "The crimes involving Rontae Hayes are some of the most horrific Ive seen in my 30-plus year career in law enforcement, said Page, who attended Thursdays hearing and joined Ramey in thanking deputies, investigators, Reidsville police officers, and N.C. SBI, state K-9 teams and N.C. Highway Patrol staff for their hard work on the case.

    Ramey lauded Reese for "hundreds upon hundreds'' of hours working on the case, and said the victims and their families had shown prosecutors uncommon patience as they waited for justice. The DA also tipped his hat to firefighters from the region who pitched during crimes and aided the investigation.

    "Now, thanks to the hard work of District Attorney Jason Ramey and his office, Rontae Hayes will stay off our streets,'' Page said, adding, "My heart still goes out to all the victims that were involved ... ''.

    "I realize this may sound harsh, but as a father and former lawman, I really don't care if it's by lethal injection, by the electric chair, firing squad, hanging, the guillotine or being fed to the lions."
    - Oklahoma Rep. Mike Christian

    "There are some people who just do not deserve to live,"
    - Rev. Richard Hawke

    "Men have called me mad; but the question is not yet settled, whether madness is or is not the loftiest intelligence"
    - Edgar Allan Poe

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