Detective: ‘I forgot’ to search co-defendant’s home

 

By Kevin Spradlin
PeeDeePost.com

Previous coverage
* 4/1: Pete Ingram: ‘To clear myself, I’d tell on my momma’
* 3/31: Co-defendant: ‘My uncle killed that man’
* 3/31: Defendant’s nephew: My uncle did it
* 3/30: 911 calls replayed, detectives questioned
* 3/30: Victim’s wife of defendant: ‘He was our friend’
* 3/27: Alternates selected, opening statements set for Monday
* 3/26: Medical emergency delays murder trial
* 3/25: ‘At a particular place at a particular time’
* 3/25: Jury set in murder trial of Norman General Store owner
* 3/25: Prospective juror caught up in gambling ring
* 3/24: Race becomes an issue in jury selection
* 3/24: Defense works from “presumption of innocence”
* 3/23: Jury selection begins in murder trial

ROCKINGHAM — A former Richmond County Sheriff’s Office detective told jurors on Wednesday he basically forgot to request a search warrant at the home of Henry Thomas “Pete” Ingram.

Pete Ingram, 53, of Candor, and his uncle, Alexander Ingram, 63, of Jackson Springs, are charged with first degree murder and robbery with a dangerous weapon in the beating death on Nov. 26, 2012, of former Norman  General Store owner Michael Leverne Collins Sr. Alexander Ingram is being tried by Assistant District Attorney Dawn Layton. Pete Ingram is being tried separately.

Former Richmond County Sheriff's Office Det. Robert L. Heaton said that in the excitement of trying to recover the murder weapon, he failed to remember to request a search warrant for the home of co-defendant Henry Thomas "Pete" Ingram.

Former Richmond County Sheriff’s Office Det. Robert L. Heaton said that in the excitement of trying to recover the murder weapon, he failed to remember to request a search warrant for the home of co-defendant Henry Thomas “Pete” Ingram.

Stephen Freedman and Frank Wells, tasked with defending Alexander Ingram, made the admission of former Richmond County Sheriff’s Office Det. Robert L. Heaton a focus point in the afternoon session of the third day of testimony inside Courtroom E on the third floor of the Richmond County Judicial Center.

Heaton, now a lieutenant with the Southern Pines Police Department, acknowledged the lack of a search, whether by consent or by way of a search warrant, while being questioned by Layton.

On Nov. 27, 2012, Heaton was interviewing Pete Ingram at the sheriff’s office in downtown Rockingham. Heaton said Pete Ingram’s story — he claimed his uncle was solely responsible for Collins’ murder — would have more validity if Heaton could recover the murder weapon.

“C’mon, let’s go … I’m gonna show you where it’s at. I’m gonna take you dead to it,” Pete Ingram replied, according to a transcript of the recorded interview.

And that he did. A hammer was recovered off U.S. Route 220 Alternate in Montgomery County approximately 796 feet from Alexander Ingram’s home — and approximately 1.5 miles from Pete Ingram’s home.

“During the course of the interview, we got to a point beyond that,” Heaton told Layton of looking for the clothes Pete Ingram wore the night of the murder.

When Pete Ingram suggested he could take Heaton to the murder weapon, “to be honest, it caught me a little off guard,” Heaton told Layton. “In the midst of doing that, I forgot about doing (the search for the clothing.”

Henry Thomas "Pete" Ingram, left, and Alexander Ingram, right.

Henry Thomas “Pete” Ingram, left, and Alexander Ingram, right.

Pete Ingram also took authorities to MacCallum Pond Road, and a bridge that spans Big Creek near McCullum’s Pond. There, Pete Ingram led Heaton and other investigators to a bag of clothing Pete Ingram said Alexander Ingram wore the night of the murder. It’s not yet known what evidence, if any, there is on the clothing that ties either man to the murder.

In the recorded interview on Nov. 27, 2012, Pete Ingram told Heaton and others that he had changed his top — that the shoes and blue jeans he wore to the sheriff’s office was the same he’d been wearing the night before. The top, though, was different — and Pete Ingram said no one ever asked him for the top, which he said was left at the home in Candor he shared with his mother.

Freedman jumped on the oversight.

Heaton acknowledged that the clothing Pete Ingram had been wearing the night of the murder would have been “certainly one of the points of interest” and admitted to Freedman there could be evidence on that clothing.

“Would you have wanted to go out to Pete Ingram’s house” to retrieve the top, Freedman asked.

“Yes, Sir,” Heaton replied, but as the interview with Pete Ingram progressed, “once we got to the part of the hammer, we immediately went there.”

Freedman asked if Pete Ingram’s clothing was brought up later on Nov. 27, or even on Nov. 28.  No, Heaton said.

* * * 

In other developments, Chad Barefoot, who in November 2012 worked with the crime scene unit with the North Carolina State Bureau of Investigation, said he was tasked with executing the search warrant at Alexander Ingram’s home. While Alexander Ingram’s pair of black Skecher shoes were confiscated as evidence — a preliminary test indicated there was blood on the shoes — nothing else in the home or the two vehicles, including Alexander Ingram’s Ford F250 pickup truck, yielded any positive tests for blood.

 

 

 

 

 

Filed in: Ellerbe/Norman, Featured News, Latest Headlines, News, Public safety, Rockingham

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