Charles Michael Haywood, 22, appeared before a judge on Monday, March 27, and will be charged with capital murder for the fatal stabbing of a woman working at a hemp store in North Carolina last year.
Margaret Bracey, who was 42, was working alone at Exotic Hemp Company when Haywood barged into the store. Security footage shows what appears to be Haywood asking her about products before pulling out a knife and demanding her to empty the register. Then he stabbed her multiple times and killed her even though she complied with his demands.
WECT reports that District Attorney Ben David says the State of North Carolina is seeking the death penalty for a man charged in the fatal stabbing of a woman who worked at a hemp store last August. WWAY reports Superior Court Judge Dawn Layton agreed and ruled in favor of the district attorney office’s proposal.
“This is especially heinous, atrocious, or cruel, given the facts and circumstances of what happened to Margaret Bracey that evening. It was also in the commission of an armed robbery, and done for pecuniary gain. These are all aggravating factors, where the state is empowered to seek the death penalty. Not every first degree murder is death penalty eligible, you have to have what are called aggravating circumstances. The judge agreed that based on the facts and circumstances of this case, it should proceed forward and Charles Michael Haywood will be tried for his life,” said Pender County District Attorney Ben David.
The arrest warrant details the course of events that led to Bracey’s death.
“Haywood removed the cash from the register and then attacked Bracey with the knife, stabbing her multiple times,” a Surf City, North Carolina-based detective wrote as probable cause for a search warrant. “As a result of the knife attack by Haywood, Bracey was killed.”
“Haywood cut his hand during the attack and was seen on video bleeding from his hand,” the warrant continues.
According to the arrest warrant, Haywood took about $750 from the register and put it in his backpack. Then he swapped out clothes to disguise himself as he left.
The attacker was turned in by his own mother after she saw his face on TV.
“[Haywood’s mother] brought Haywood to the Surf City Police Department where he was interviewed and ultimately arrested for first-degree murder and armed robbery,” the court document states. “While interviewing [Haywood’s mother], she advised that Haywood had returned to her residence with his shirt wrapped around his hand. [She] stated that Haywood entered the residence and showered. [She] stated that she checked on Haywood and found that he had a laceration to his hand that required medical attention. [She] stated that Haywood put the shirt he had wrapped around his hand into a trash bag and put the trash bag into the outside trash can.”
While Haywood was held in jail, he was denied bail.
The next court date for the case has not yet been set. District Attorney Ben David says he expects the jury to be selected among residents living in Pender County, North Carolina.
“Two of my prosecutors, Jason Smith and Amy White, are both going to be actually handling the case when it comes to trial. I was present at the scene with Jason, the night it happened, and we’ve all been working closely. That’s one thing I want to stress, you know, these decisions are not made lightly, we have over 100-years, worth of prosecutors, around the table with me and the lead investigators, when we have what are called critical case reviews.”