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Habitual felon gets 18 years for 2017 shooting

William Bryant
William Bryant(Onslow County Detention Center)
Published: Dec. 15, 2021 at 4:00 PM EST|Updated: Jan. 18, 2022 at 8:17 PM EST
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ONSLOW COUNTY, N.C. (WITN) - An Eastern Carolina man was found guilty Tuesday for a 2017 shooting in Maysville.

Onslow County District Attorney Ernie Lee says William Bryant, of the Pollocksville/Maysville area, was found guilty by an Onslow County jury of these charges:

  • Assault with a deadly weapon inflicting serious injury
  • Assault with a deadly weapon
  • Discharging a weapon into occupied property inflicting serious bodily injury
  • Possession of a firearm by a felon

Lee says Bryant admitted his status as a habitual felon, which in North Carolina is when a defendant has at least three prior felonies, two of the three being after their 18th birthday, and where the dates of offenses and convictions do not overlap.

We’re told Bryant had been convicted over the past thirty years of offenses including, but not limited to: Three counts of DWI, three counts of resisting public officer, three counts of injury to personal property, three counts of possession of cocaine, one count of possession with intent to manufacture/sell/deliver cocaine, two counts of sale of cocaine, assault on a female, two counts of driving while license revoked for an impaired revocation.

Lee says Bryant was on supervised probation for a felony drug charge at the time of the January 2017 offense. Bryant was sentenced to a minimum of 18 1/6 years and a maximum of 23 years 11/12 years in prison on Tuesday.

Lee says the state’s evidence showed at about 10 p.m. on Jan. 18th, 2017, two people were parked in a car in Maysville when Bruant pulled up behind them in his pick-up truck. Evidence showed Bryant got out of his truck with a 9mm pistol and approached the men in the car.

We’re told when they drove away, Bryant shot at the car 5 times and the passenger was hit by a bullet underneath his armpit. The bullet wound victim was airlifted to Vidant Medical Center in Greenville and underwent emergency surgery. He spent a week in the hospital recovering from the wound and surgery.

Lee says through the course of the investigation, the Onslow County Sheriff’s Office found out Bryant was the shooter. Bryant admitted being disrespected by the victims and later shooting at them. He also wrote a statement apologizing for what he did and signed it with his full name. He was charged and bonded out.

The district attorney’s office tells us the state’s evidence office showed that Bryant drove his truck to an address on Oct. 28th, 2017 and an altercation occurred where a 9mm pistol was found. Bryant admitted he possessed the gun. The gun and cartridge casings matched those found at the shooting scene from January. The crime lab confirmed the cases came from the same gun.

District Attorney Ernie Lee says, “This case demonstrates the dangers of guns and drug-motivated crimes. This defendant was vigorously prosecuted due to his extensive criminal record, his choice to unlawfully possess a firearm, and his extremely reckless and dangerous actions with that firearm.”

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