Stepfather Charged In Pitt County Homicide Released On Bond, Judge Explains

It's the lowest bond one judge in the east says he's ever set for a man charged with a homicide.

Just two days after 44 year old Alton Modlin, known as Lee, was charged with murdering his stepson in Pitt County, Modlin is no longer behind bars. He was released on bond Monday.

Over the weekend, the body of 25 year old Ricky Whitehurst was found near the Modlin home in Grimesland. At Modlin's first court appearance Monday, chief District Court Judge David Leech, set the bond at 14-thousand dollars despite the DA's office asking for a million. Neighbors say they were shocked.

Modlin's family members says there are a lot of mis-conceptions about what happened that night and requested their privacy

Judge leech explained to WITN, he has never sent a bond that low, but after the plea from Modlin's wife and the victim's mother citing Whitehurst's violent past, his drug and alcohol history and pending court case for assault, judge leech felt he set a proper bond for the circumstances.
Previous Story:
A man police say fatally hit his stepson with the wooden handle of a shovel this weekend has been released on bond.

The bond for Alton Modlin, age 44 of Gaskins Road in Grimesland, was set at $14,000 secured Monday. According to officials, to be released, he had to put up $14,000 in cash, property twice the amount of the bond or have gone through a bail bondsman.

The charge against Modlin listed online does not specify degree but is simply listed as "murder." His next court appearance is scheduled for June 17.

Authorities reported Monday the cause of death for Modlin's stepson was blunt force trauma to the head, and they believe the wooden handle of a shovel was used in the attack.

Authorities say 25-year-old Ricky Whitehurst's body was found Saturday night, across the street from where he and his stepfather had an altercation on Gaskins Road in Grimesland.

Whitehurst had a criminal history. He had just been released from prison in February and was facing new charges, including assault.



Previous information:

Forty-four-year-old Alton Modlin, who lives on Gaskins Road in Grimesland, is charged in his stepson's death and had his first appearance in court Monday morning. His bond was set at $14,000. The charge against Modlin listed online does not specifiy degree but is simply listed as "murder."

As of 3:30 p.m. Monday, Modlin was still at the Pitt County Detention Center.

According to Pitt County investigators, Modlin and Whitehurst got into an alternation between 8:30 and 9:30 Saturday night.

Officials say an autopsy showed Whitehurst died from blunt force trauma to head. The Sheriff's Office says Modlin was intoxicated, and are awaiting autopsy results to see what further role alcohol played in the death.

Online North Carolina court records show a Ricky Allen Whitehurst with the same birthdate as the deceased facing several charges in Pitt County.

A court date of June 4 was set for a felony charge of "assault serious bodily injury."

A court date of July 1 was set for a felony charge of larceny of a motor vehicle, as well as charges of driving while impaired, injury to personal property, possession of prescription drugs without a prescription, driving with license revoked and reckless driving to endanger.

The North Carolina Department of Corrections website shows a record for Ricky Allen Whitehurst.

The online record shows Whitehurst was released from prison in February 2009, after serving time for communicating threats.

Convictions on Whitehurst's record include second degree trespass, simple assault, resisting officer, drunk and disorderly and DWI Level 4.

The North Carolina Department of Corrections website shows a DWI conviction for Alton Lee Modlin in 1990.


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Comments are posted from viewers like you and do not always reflect the views of this station.
  • by Debbie Location: Pantego, NC on Oct 8, 2011 at 07:16 AM
    I don't know any of these people. I am not aware of what actually happened that night. As an outsider I have read the comments and have seen alot of people say what should and shouldn't happen. Just a little something to think about. After reading the news story and all the post, this is what I see. I see a man in his own yard, probably drinking, that's his right considering it's his yard. I see a trouble young man come into his yard, and start an altercation. Unsure of what Lee was hit with, the fact still remains he was on his property and was hit with something. I see that at some point Lee hit Ricky with a shovel handle in defense. No where has it been said he beat him to death with the shovel handle. All that was said is Ricky died from blunt force trauma. That can be caused by one blow to the right area, without trying to murder someone. Irregardless of alcohol or drug involvement, if you come in my yard and start trouble and I feel I am in danger, I will defend myself as I see fit. I will not purposely try to kill you, but I will to what is necessary to make you stop. If by doing so I hit you in an area that causes your death, that does not make a murder charge, it may make an involuntary murder charge. All being said, I pray that the family find peace in what has happened. I also pray for Ricky's soul. God bless you all.
  • by Joyce Location: Hampton, GA on Oct 21, 2009 at 09:39 AM
    Let me hear from you, Joyce
  • by CC Location: NC on Jun 12, 2009 at 09:12 AM
    Thanks "sugar" for validating my point.
  • by Sugar Location: NC on Jun 11, 2009 at 07:46 PM
    Lee an Dianne got to gether when Ricky was 8 years old i should know i am Ricky's mom i pray for all of you guys
  • by phd Location: NC on Jun 11, 2009 at 05:31 AM
    b since when are comments considered "news" You read the news before you get to the comments, if you don't want to read peoples opinions then just stop at the news and don't read the comments.
  • by b Location: pc on Jun 10, 2009 at 03:44 PM
    Came on here to read the "news" and found a lot of "gossip". "news" and "gossip" are two different things.
  • by phd Location: NC on Jun 10, 2009 at 11:07 AM
    b isn't the reader of the so called "gossip" as bad as the writer?
  • by b Location: pc on Jun 10, 2009 at 09:51 AM
    Betty, the town gossip and self-appointed supervisor of the town's morals, kept sticking her nose into other people's business. Most local residents were unappreciative of her activities, but feared her enough to maintain their silence. However, she made a mistake when she recently accused Ted, a local man, of being an alcoholic after she saw his pickup truck parked outside the town's only bar one afternoon. Ted, a man of few words, stared at her for a moment and walked away. Later that evening, he parked his pickup truck in front of her house and left it there all night..... A joke that came to mind from all this gossip
  • by CC Location: NC on Jun 10, 2009 at 06:06 AM
    Also Tattoo in Greenville, Lee and Diane got together when Ricky was 12 years old, How could he have raised them from when Ricky was a baby, Just another slant on the truth to benefit Lee, huh??
  • by CC Location: NC on Jun 10, 2009 at 05:41 AM
    You Think??? Human life is not disposible. Your mind set is off. Ricky's life had value, just ask those who loved him. Self defense is justified in cases where your life is threatened. However Ricky was down, Lee had plenty of time and opportunity to call for help. Then they could have taken proper steps to ensure this never happen again, "restraining order" comes to mind. Imagine a helpless man lying and dying, your stepson from injures you inflicted, and you not getting him help and possibly saving his life. "Loving Parent??"
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