• 11:57 am Bladen’s Best of the Best for 2019
  • 11:35 am Updated news about Bladen County Election Investigations
  • 4:35 pm Tillis & Sinema Introduce Bipartisan Legislation To Give Veterans Who Honorably Served Access To The American Legion
  • 4:01 pm Arraignment date for former Elizabethtown doctor and girlfriend rescheduled
  • 3:56 pm Letter to the Editor: Rebuttal to Sen. Thom Tillis’ Requests More Details From Administration On Offshore Drilling And Plans To Protect North Carolina
  • 2:33 pm State to hold last of two public meetings on draft Animal Feeding Operations General Permits
  • 2:03 pm Proposed legislation to make cell phone use while driving illegal in NC

By Erin Smith

The jury in the Christopher Baldwin murder trial returned a verdict of guilty on all charges after deliberating for 30 minutes. Superior Court Imelda Pate sentenced Baldwin to life in prison without the possibility of parole.

Baldwin was convicted of first-degree murder in the shooting death of Darrell Council. He was also convicted of attempted first-degree murder against Antwan Council, who is Darrell’s brother.

Baldwin was also found guilty of felony conspiracy to commit first-degree murder against Antwan Council and discharging a weapon into an occupied vehicle in operation. Baldwin was also found guilty of felony conspiracy to commit first-degree murder against Darrell Council.

Defense Attorney Gregory Bullard, who represented Baldwin, notified the court he will file an appeal.

Baldwin was the fourth and final co-defendant to be tried for the shooting death of Darrell Council.

In closing arguments, Assistant District Attorney Quentin McGee laid out his argument for the jury to return a verdict of first-degree murder.

“The evidence is clear. It is overwhelming that this defendant is guilty,” argued McGee.

McGee reminded jurors that D’Nayza Downing testified to the fact Christopher Baldwin and Montise Mitchell were together in Lumberton on the night of November 8, 2015.

McGee showed the jurors a photograph of the intersection once more. He reminded the jurors that the Council brothers had driven into an ambush.

McGee also reminded jurors of Investigator Morgan Johnson’s testimony regarding the investigation and gathering of evidence.  He reminded jurors that Baldwin lied to Investigator Johnson in his first interview regarding his involvement in the murder of Darrell Council.

Next, Defense Attorney Gregory Bullard presented his closing arguments to the jury. Bullard  said, “This is a serious case. It has been a serious case for years.”

He argued there is no evidence to show Baldwin conspired with anyone. Bullard told the jury that Montise Mitchell, D’Nayza Downing and Shanika Mitchell were aware of the plan to kill the Council brothers, but not Baldwin. Bullard pointed out there were no text messages found on Baldwin’s phone regarding the plot against the Council brothers.

Bullard also argued that on the night of November 8, 2015, Baldwin was acting out of fear and he fired his gun up into the air, but did not shoot anyone.

Bullard also reminded the jury that D’Nayza Downing received a plea arrangement from the District Attorney’s Office in exchange for her testimony.