Guilty Plea In Duplin County Dragging Murder

A Duplin County man will spend the next 12 to 15 years in state prison after his guilty plea today to a strange murder where the victim's foot was dragged for six miles.

Anthony Smith pleaded guilty in a Kenansville courtroom to second degree murder.

Back in October 2008, 19-year-old Ashley Mercer was found dead in the backseat of her car in Pink Hill.

Prosecutors say it was tough to determine what lead up to the woman's death. A pathologist said Mercer died from asphyxia, secondary to suffocation, while prosecutors say prior to the murder everyone there was drinking alcohol. The 28-year-old Smith told deputies that he and the victim had been drinking at a home in Beulaville and that she was being loud. He said he put his hand over her mouth until she stopped moving and Smith said he thought the victim was unconscious.

Smith told deputies he and a friend then carried the woman to her car and put her in head-first into the backseat. He then drove for six miles, while the victim's left foot was outside the car, dragging on the road.

After meeting with the victim's family on many occasions, prosecutors were able to come up with a plea arrangement for Smith.


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  • by Anonymous on Feb 28, 2012 at 03:58 PM
    What does it matter who "that jerk" is related too exactly??
  • by wonders Location: nc on Feb 28, 2012 at 03:21 PM
    not sure he does have a brother that lives in beaulaville or so I heard I wonder if he even showed up for court??
  • by Anonymous on Feb 28, 2012 at 12:06 PM
    Thats Duplin County for you. Good ol boy system still working. Who is that jerk related too.
  • by Anonymous on Feb 28, 2012 at 08:36 AM
    There's no point in arguing. It's over its done with. And if any of you were any kind of friend/family to Ashley, why not let her rest in peace? He may not have got what most consider fair, but there is NOTHING that can be changed now. Let Ashley rest... Like I said absolutly NO POINT in arguing over something NONE OF US can change!
  • by ncyankee Location: enc on Feb 28, 2012 at 05:36 AM
    Here they are, weak judges, and da's. so sad, yes, the system is broke, and unless we get rid of liberals this will continue. somehow feel that one of her family members will be waiting when he gets out
  • by whatever Location: beulaville on Feb 27, 2012 at 06:54 PM
    None of you knew the circumstances, all you know is a press release from a plea agreement. You dont know him denied a trial for 3 years....i would take a plea too.
    • reply
      by Idiot alert! on Feb 28, 2012 at 03:54 AM in reply to whatever
      We have an idiot alert! The guy is a killer, so three years without resolution is no big deal..... especially when the defense attorney is the one who postpones the trial. You expect ANYONE to believe the plea deal was made because he had not gone to trial? That is the most ridiculous statement.....and false. What a buffoon!
      • reply
        by Anonymous on Feb 28, 2012 at 07:32 PM in reply to Idiot alert!
        "The guy is a killer"....Do you know what second degree murder is exactly??
    • reply
      by Tori on Feb 28, 2012 at 05:56 AM in reply to whatever
      He did the crime and he needs to wait for his fair trial. Maybe if he just went on and made guilty plea he could save actual taxpayers some money! Maybe he could have got another judge too!
  • by Mercer Location: Georgia on Feb 27, 2012 at 06:31 PM
    I just wanted to say for all those who think this was enough time and think this was accident you tell this to her baby sister who I held for over an hour. today was just like reliving that horrible day again. Denied a trial his defense attory kept postponing trying to find experts who would make up a different story.. He plead out bc NC still holds the death penalty!!
  • by whatever Location: beulaville on Feb 27, 2012 at 04:22 PM
    None of you knew the circumstances, all you know is a press release from a plea agreement. You dont know him denied a trial for 3 years....i would take a plea too.
    • reply
      by So....... on Feb 28, 2012 at 03:48 AM in reply to whatever
      Awww, poor guy who killed someone had to wait for the trial? BIG DEAL! You people defending this crook need to re evaluate your lives. The plea agreement was to avoid a longer jail sentence..... not because he 'waited' for a trial. You people amaze me..... what do they teach you there in Beulaville?
  • by this is krazy on Feb 27, 2012 at 03:40 PM
    Drugs dealer get more time then this only n duplin county. smh
  • by a friend Location: beulaville on Feb 27, 2012 at 02:19 PM
    I knew both. I truely believe that it was an accident. I KNOW it was just an accident. I feel this is more than enough time. I know everyone has an opinion but I'm sure most if not all of u have drank before. Accidents happen when drinking is involved. He is a GOOD person and it hurts my heart that this has happened
    • reply
      by That's the problem.... on Feb 27, 2012 at 02:57 PM in reply to a friend
      That's the problem....people like you calling this an accident. People drink, but they typically don't try to FORCE someone to be quiet by killing them, and then drive down the road for six miles while a foot drags down the road. Maybe you need new friends.
      • reply
        by Anonymous on Feb 27, 2012 at 07:01 PM in reply to That's the problem....
        Some also don't realize what they are doing when they are drunk either...
        • reply
          by Tori on Feb 28, 2012 at 05:54 AM in reply to
          Well that is a problem and they dont need to drink and kill someone! Yeah thats a problem - you are right! I hope thats not your friends.
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