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 Contracting Company will receive sealed proposals for Manns Harbor – EMS/Fire Facility (EMS-8), Kitty Hawk – EMS/Fire Facility (EMS-9), Manteo – Youth Center on January 09, 2024. Times to be given on via addendum #01. See the following SCOPE OF WORK: BP 100 – General Trades, BP 105 – Final Cleaning, BP 205 – Demolition, BP 390 – Turnkey Concrete, BP 400 – Turnkey Masonry, BP 500 – Turnkey Structural Steel & Misc. Steel, BP 505 – Light Gauge Metal Trusses, BP 740 – Roofing, BP750 – Siding, BP 790 – Caulking/Sealants, BP 800 – Turnkey Doors/Frames/Hardware/Toilet Specialties/Accessories/Division 10, BP 840 – Curtainwall/Storefront/Glass/Glazing, BP 925 – Drywall/Framing, BP 960 – Resilient Flooring/Carpet/Base/Epoxy, BP 980 – Acoustical Ceilings, BP 990 – Painting and Wall Coverings, BP 1230 – Finish Carpentry and Casework, BP 1250 – Window Treatments, BP 2100 – Fire Protection, BP 2200 – Plumbing, BP 2300 – HVAC, BP 2600 – Electrical, BP 3100 – Earthwork/Turnkey Site, BP 3213- Site Concrete, BP 3290 – Landscaping. Scopes of work may be added and/or deleted at the discretion of the Construction Manager.

Bid Location and Time: Bid opening will be held in the Barnhill Contracting Rocky Mount Training & GPS Technology Room: 800 Tiffany Bvld, Rocky Mount, NC 27804. Time is as follows: January 09, 2024 at 10:00am and 2:00pm. Times per packages to be given on via addendum #01.

Barnhill Contracting Company will receive, open, and read publicly all bids received in person in the Training & GPS Technology Room at the main office and listed with the virtual viewing at the link to be posted on Barnhill’s Plan Room.

Bids will not be accepted from bidders that are not pre-qualified. No facsimile or email submissions are permitted. Sealed bids are to be hand delivered to the bid opening location noted above or mailed Sealed Bids can be delivered before 9:00am the day of the bid to the Barnhill Contracting Company Office at 800 Tiffany Blvd., Suite 200 Rocky Mount, NC 27804. Attention “Clint Hardison.”

The pre-bid meeting will be held in Person & Zoom Meeting on December 06, 2023 at 10:00 am at the Barnhill Contracting’s Rocky Mount Main Conference Room: 800 Tiffany Bvld, Rocky Mount, NC 27804.

The pre-bid meeting link can be located on Barnhill’s online Building Division Plan Room ( https://app.buildingconnected.com/public/54da832ce3edb5050017438b) and below. A preferred brand alternates meeting will be held via the same link at the end of the Prebid meeting.

Bid Documents can be viewed or downloaded through Barnhill’s online Building Division Plan Room (https://app.buildingconnected.com/public/54da832ce3edb5050017438b) after 12/04/2023.

All Bidders are strongly encouraged to include opportunities for HUB participation wherever possible in their respective Bid submission.  HUB participation is a part of this contract and must comply with all requirements set forth in the Bid Documents.

The Construction Manager and Owner reserve the right to add pre-qualified bidders. The Construction Manager and Owner reserve the right to reject any and all bids. Should you require additional direction, please call Barnhill Contracting Company, (Clint Hardison – 252-802-0740).

Clint Hardison is inviting you to a scheduled Zoom meeting.

Topic: Dare EMS – Phase 2 Pre-Bid Conference

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  • 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