Suspect arraigned as first of three murder victims laid to rest - WBTV 3 News, Weather, Sports, and Traffic for Charlotte, NC

Suspect arraigned as first of three murder victims laid to rest

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Everette Hewitt (Photo courtesy of the Catawba County Sheriff's Office) Everette Hewitt (Photo courtesy of the Catawba County Sheriff's Office)
Four people were shot at this mobile home near Conover early Tuesday morning. Four people were shot at this mobile home near Conover early Tuesday morning.
Deputies found Hewitt sleeping at his girlfriend's house Wednesday morning. Deputies found Hewitt sleeping at his girlfriend's house Wednesday morning.
Hewitt hides his face while being escorted to jail. Hewitt hides his face while being escorted to jail.

By Steve Ohnesorge - bio l email
Jeff Rivenbark - email

CONOVER, NC (WBTV) - The funeral for one of the three victims who were murdered in Catawba County earlier this week was held on Thursday, the same day in which the murder suspect was arraigned in court.

Everette Hewitt, 32, is accused of fatally shooting three people and injuring a fourth person over drugs and money at a home near Conover. 

On Thursday, Hewitt requested a court-appointed attorney and  probable cause hearing is now scheduled for Wednesday, April 6. Hewitt is being held at the Catawba County jail without bond. 

The sheriff's office has identified the three victims as 50-year-old Wade Sigmon, 51-year-old Susan Kay Blevins, and 42-year-old Connie Canipe Miller. All three lived in Conover. Joseph Burke, 38, was also shot, but he survived his injuries.

Sigmon's funeral was held Thursday afternoon at Chapel of Willis-Reynolds Funeral Home in Newton. Burke Mortuary in Newton is handling the funeral arrangements for Connie Miller. As of Friday afternoon, the arrangements for Miller and Blevins were incomplete.

More than 100 officers from Alexander County, Burke County, Lincoln County, the North Carolina Highway Patrol, Brookford Police, and Taylorsville Police assisted in the manhunt for Hewitt.

Late Tuesday night, officials believed they had him contained near Highway 16 at River Bend Road. As it grew dark, conditions were simply too dangerous for officers to enter the woods searching for Hewitt. Officials set up a perimeter and sealed off the area until they could resume the search on Wednesday.

Sheriff's deputies were also stationed on school buses throughout the Claremont area Wednesday morning to make sure Hewitt didn't try to jump on board. 

The sheriff's office said Hewitt had a lengthy criminal record including three convictions of assault on a female as well as prior charges for burglary, trespassing and resisting an officer. 

Hewitt's girlfriend lives at 5157 Corban Street off Bolick Road and officers searched her home on Tuesday, but he wasn't there.

Early Wednesday morning, the sheriff's office received a tip about a suspicious person spotted near her home.

Sheriff's deputies went back to the girlfriend's home and SWAT officers from the Lincoln County Sheriff's Office made entry into the house.

They found Hewitt sleeping, but he had not been there very long. Hewitt was arrested and taken into custody without incident. His legs were cut up and showed signs that he had been out in the woods all night.

While he was escorted to the Catawba County Sheriff's Office, he denied being involved in the shootings which occurred Tuesday morning on Emmanuel Church Road at the Oak Knoll Mobile Home Park.

Officials said Sigmon owned the mobile home where the murders occurred.

The sheriff's office says Hewitt knew the four victims and that Hewitt was in the mobile home early Tuesday morning smoking crack cocaine. Hewitt left the mobile home and returned around 4:45 a.m.

When one of the victims in the mobile home opened the door, the sheriff's office says Hewitt demanded money and ATM cards. The sheriff's office suspects he wanted money to buy more drugs.

Before leaving, Hewitt allegedly fired a pistol striking all four victims who were inside.

Sigmon, Blevins and Miller died as a result of their gunshot wounds. Burke was injured and taken to a hospital where he was later released.

By noon on Tuesday, investigators had found the vehicle they believe Hewitt was driving when he left the scene.

We spoke with Sigmon's mother, Pearl Berryhill, as she attempted to offer comfort to her family on Tuesday.

"He had a love for everybody, he'd do anything for anyone," Berryhill said.

She said she had a bad feeling something like this would happen to her son some day. We asked if she thought he was involved in drugs.

"Oh yes, he's done drugs for years," she said.

Sigmon was known to open up his home to lots of people.

"He let everybody come and stay, everybody, give 'em a place to live, didn't matter what they did," Berryhill said. "He had such a good heart, and now, they've taken him away from us. I don't understand."

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