NC kidnapping, murder suspect indicted on new charges; DA seekin - FOX Carolina 21

NC kidnapping, murder suspect indicted on new charges; DA seeking death penalty

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Phillip Michael Stroupe II (Source: TCSO) Phillip Michael Stroupe II (Source: TCSO)
From left: Larry Hawkins, Jennifer Hawkins, Frederick Badgero (Source: BCSO) From left: Larry Hawkins, Jennifer Hawkins, Frederick Badgero (Source: BCSO)
Phillip Stroupe II in court on Aug. 1, 2017 (FOX Carolina) Phillip Stroupe II in court on Aug. 1, 2017 (FOX Carolina)
Phillip Stroupe I (Source: Henderson Co. Detention Center) Phillip Stroupe I (Source: Henderson Co. Detention Center)
BARNARDSVILLE, NC (FOX Carolina) -

Investigators confirm the suspect that led them on a days-long manhunt has been charged with murder, and three of the suspects accused of harboring him have been charged with accessory after the fact.

Phillip Stroupe II was arrested in McDowell County in the early morning on July 27 after leading deputies on a manhunt in multiple counties that began on July 22. He was charged on Monday with first-degree murder after deputies say he was the sole person responsible for the death of the man he is accused of kidnapping, Thomas Bryson.

Deputies: Body of missing man Thomas Bryson located in Buncombe County

Stroupe was driving a truck belonging to Bryson when police spotted him in the Marion area. Henderson County Sheriff Charles McDonald said investigators believe Stroupe kidnapped Bryson, who resides in the Mills River area on July 26.

Buncombe County Sheriff Van Duncan said deputies had learned that Stroupe visited a home in the Barnadsville area.

The sheriff said the revelation led to charges against three people: Jennifer Elaine Hawkins, Frederick Aurther Badgero Jr., and Larry Jay Hawkins. As of Saturday evening, Duncan said that Badgero, Jennifer Hawkins and Larry Hawkins had all been arrested and accused of harboring and possibly helping Phillip Stroupe II when he was on the run. All three were later released from the Buncombe County Detention Center on bond.

Henderson County deputies confirmed Stroupe's father, 65-year-old Phillip Michael Stroupe I, was arrested and charged with accessory after the fact of felony first-degree kidnapping. 

According to the arrest warrant, Stroupe I helped his son by "receiving material information concerning the disappearance of Thomas Bryson."

He was arrested before Bryson's body was found about 20 minutes from where he went missing, deputies said.

District Attorney Greg Newman said the charges against Stroupe I were upgraded to accessory after the fact to first degree murder.

Both Stroupes are currently being held at the Henderson County Detention Center but Newman said one of the men would eventually be housed elsewhere as they await future court hearings.

Three suspects rearrested

Deputies confirmed Jennifer Hawkins, Larry Hawkins and Frederick Badgero had been rearrested on upgraded charges of felony accessory after the fact of first degree murder. They were all also charged with felony harboring an escapee. All three are currently being held at the Buncombe County Detention Center on $200,000 bonds.

The district attorney is seeking the death penalty in this case.

List of charges

According to arrest warrants, Phillip Stroupe II was charged with the following:

  • first degree murder - Henderson County
  • first degree kidnapping - Henderson County
  • felony larceny of motor vehicle - Henderson County
  • felony carrying concealed - Transylvania County
  • possession of firearm by felon - Transylvania County
  • drive on closed/unopened highway - Transylvania County
  • reckless driving to endanger - Transylvania County
  • robbery with a dangerous weapon - Transylvania County
  • felony flee/ elude arrest with motor vehicle - Transylvania County
  • possession of methamphetamine - McDowell County
  • fleeing to elude arrest - McDowell County
  • failure to stop for a steady red light - McDowell County
  • reckless driving to endanger - McDowell County
  • resisting a public officer - McDowell County
  • possession of a firearm by a felon - McDowell County

On Aug. 17, the District Attorney's office confirmed he was also indicted in Transylvania County for robbery with a dangerous weapon, flee to elude arrest, possession of a firearm by a felon and carrying a concealed weapon.

A hearing in Superior Court is expected for Aug. 24.

Aug. 1 court appearances

Stroupe II appeared in court on August 1 in Henderson. 

During the hearing, the judge read the charges he faces in both Henderson and Transylvania counties.
The judge set probable cause hearing dates for both counties.

The judge said pre-trial release was not authorized and bond was not set.

Stroupe I, Badgero, and both Hawkins suspects also had hearings on their upgraded charges on Tuesday.

During the hearings, the judge revealed that both Hawkins suspects and Badgero had multiple prior charges on their records for failing to appear in court. 

Jennifer Hawkins had 38 prior failure to appear charges, Larry Hawkins had three prior failure to appear charges, and Badgero had 12 failure to appear charges.

MORE NEWS: 

Deputies: Body of missing man Thomas Bryson located in Buncombe County

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