Former Murder Suspect Pleads Guilty To Weapons Charge

After spending three years in prison then being found not guilty of murdering a Pumpkin Center woman, Nickey Yates was back in court for new charges this week.

District Attorney Ernie Lee said 23-year-old Nickey Yates plead guilty to one count of felonious possession of a stolen firearm on Tuesday of this week in an Onslow County courtroom.

Lee said Judge Paul Jones gave Yates a suspended sentence, putting the man on probation for 15 months.

According to the state, evidence showed the gun in question was stolen from an State Bureau of Investigation agent's vehicle.

In July of 2010, the D.A. said the sheriff's office searched Yates' home on East Red Oak Court in Jacksonville and found the stolen gun tucked under a couch cushion.

According to investigators Yates said he was holding the gun for a friend, but thought it was likely a stolen weapon at the time.

After Yates plead to the gun charge against him, the state said it dismissed misdemeanor drug charges.

The weapon was returned to the SBI, according the Lee.

"Obviously with so much gun violence, particularly in the drug trade, this is a gun that law enforcement and the District Attorney's Office, did not want on the streets," said Lee. "The Onslow County Sheriff's Office did a good job in recovering this weapon."

It took jurors six hours to deliberate in the murder case against Yates in November of 2013.

At the age of 19, Yates was charged with killing his neighbor, Linda Hulsman.

On November 21st, Yates was found not guilty of the murder, kidnapping, robbery and breaking and entering. Yates had already served three years in prison before his trial.