Buckman sentenced to death for 2017 killings of Pasquotank prison workers

By on November 3, 2023

Wisezah Buckman. (Pasquotank County Sheriff’s Office)

Following a month-long trial, Wisezah Buckman, was sentenced to death in Dare County Superior Court on Nov. 2 on first degree murder charges for the killings of four Pasquotank Correctional Institution employees during a failed 2017 escape attempt.

Buckman was charged in the case along with Seth J. Frasier, Mikel Brady and Johnathan M. Monk. Other than Buckman, the only other defendant to be tried thus far is Brady, who was convicted in 2019 and sentenced to death.

According to the Coastland Times, Buckman’s defense teams plans on appealing both the verdict and the sentence.

On Nov. 3, District Attorney Jeff Cruden released the following statement.

In a trial that began on October 4, 2023, a Dare County jury yesterday returned sentences of death for defendant Wisezah Buckman in the murders of Justin Smith, Wendy Shannon and Geoffrey Howe. The same jury returned a sentence of life, without the possibility of parole in the murder of Veronica Darden. The trial was presided over by Senior Resident Superior Court Judge Jerry R. Tillett.

District attorney Jeff Cruden stated: “There are no winners in this case. The families of the victims had to relive again the brutal slayings of their loved ones, but they have been resolute from the beginning to ensure that justice is served in each case. I am especially proud of my prosecution team, Assistant District Attorney’s Kim Pellini and Alexis Massengill and Legal Assistant Hannah Gilroy. Their tireless effort, coupled with the exemplary work from the law enforcement community, ensured that the jury would have the information they needed to make this difficult decision. I commend the jurors for their willingness to serve and trust in the justice system to return the ultimate punishment for the murder of another human being.”


Barnhill Building Group has been selected as the Construction Manager @ Risk by the College of the Albemarle and is seeking to pre-qualify construction trade contractors to submit bids for the furnishing labor, materials, equipment, and tools for the new College of The Albemarle – Allied Health Sciences Simulation Lab (COA Health Sciences) located in Elizabeth City, NC. Please note: Only subcontractors who have been prequalified by Barnhill will be able to submit a Bid.

The project consists of the new construction of a 38,000-sf, 2-story expansion to the existing Owens Health Sciences Center and will house classrooms, labs, and a simulation lab. The site is just over just over 4.5 acres and is located on an active campus. This new construction will be a steel structure with a brick and metal panel veneer, curtainwall, and storefront glazing with a PVC roof membrane.

Principal trade and specialty contractors are solicited for the following Bid Packages:

BP0100: General Trades

BP0105: Final Cleaning

BP0390: Turnkey Concrete

BP0400: Turnkey Masonry

BP0500: Structural Steel & Misc. Steel

BP0740: Roofing

BP0750: Metal Panels

BP0790: Caulking / Caulking

BP0800: Turnkey Doors/Frames/Hardware

BP0840: Glass & Glazing

BP0925: Drywall

BP0960: Resilient Flooring

BP0980: Acoustical Ceilings

BP0990: Painting & Wallcovering

BP1005: Toilet Specialties / Accessories / Division 10

BP1010: Signage

BP1098: Demountable Partitions

BP1230: Finish Carpentry and Casework

BP1250: Window Treatment

BP1400: Elevators

BP2100: Fire Protection

BP2200: Plumbing

BP2300: HVAC

BP2600: Turnkey Electrical

BP3100: Turnkey Sitework

BP3290: Landscaping

Packages may be added and/or deleted at the discretion of the Construction Manager. Historically underutilized business firms are encouraged to complete participation submittals.

HUB/MWBE OUTREACH MEETING: Barnhill Building Group will be conducting a HUB/MWBE Informational Session. You are encouraged to attend the following session to learn more about project participation opportunities available to you. These seminars will help to: Learn about project and scope; Inform and train Minority/HUB contractors in preparation for bidding this project; Assist in registration on the State of North Carolina Vendor link; Stimulate opportunities for Networking with other firms. Location and time TBD. Please visit our planroom at https://app.buildingconnected.com/public/54da832ce3edb5050017438b for more information.

Interested contractors should submit their completed prequalification submittals, by July 22, 2024, to Meredith Terrell at mterrell@barnhillcontracting.com or hardcopies can be mailed to Barnhill Contracting Company PO Box 31765 Raleigh, NC 27622 (4325 Pleasant Valley Road, NC 27612).



  • Sully52

    Burn in hell.

    Friday, Nov 3 @ 4:28 pm
  • Jay

    Those apposed to the death penalty need not worry. Many of those sentenced to death have another 30+ years of appeals of the verdict & sentence before the sentence is carried out.

    Saturday, Nov 4 @ 10:41 am
  • Just me

    He deserved the death penalty! To me it was a waste of time and money for a trial.

    Saturday, Nov 4 @ 4:27 pm
  • Koo Flocks

    I’d like to see a fast track for those who are truly guilty of capital crimes worthy of death.

    Saturday, Nov 4 @ 11:12 pm
  • Travis

    Employees of the prison system in North Carolina are underpaid. The prisons are routinely understaffed. These are not pleasant jobs, and it is hard enough to find people willing to do them for the crappy salaries, let alone the danger the prison employees face.

    Politicians talk a big talk about crime but when it comes down to actually doing something about it they don’t do jack. Fingers pointed at both the Governor, AG, and the General Assembly on this one.

    So, I’m glad to see the convictions in these cases, but would Darden, Smith, Shannon and Howe be alive today if the prisons had the resources they need to properly manage the inmates? The understaffing is criminal and in a just world, Cooper, Stein, Berger and Moore would all be called to the carpet for their roles in this tragedy.

    Sunday, Nov 5 @ 11:11 pm