Man charged with murder in killing of well-known Iredell County businessman back in Statesville

Hugh Lee Moose (Photo courtesy family)
Hugh Lee Moose (Photo courtesy family)

IREDELL COUNTY, NC (WBTV) - A man was brought back to Statesville Saturday after being charged with murder in connection with the deadly 2017 shooting of a well-known Iredell County businessman.

Hugh Moose was shot to death in his home on Shiloh Road in Statesville on Jan. 10. Deputies responded to a 911 call around 7:30 that night. When they arrived, they saw Moose, 80, through a window inside the home.

On Thursday, officials charged Mark Arnold Pinkerton in Moose's death. Officials said they received a tip and then arrested Pinkerton in Pennsylvania.

"The community has been on guard about this, now we have a suspect that has confessed to the crime and we have him in custody, will obviously make them feel a lot better, feel a lot safer," said Sheriff Darren Campbell.

According to the sheriff, a recent interview led detectives to develop a witness who gave a statement about Pinkerton.  That witness said that Pinkerton had asked him if he wanted to help him in carrying out a robbery with Hugh Moose as the victim.

The witness declined that offer, according to the sheriff.

On Tuesday an Iredell County detective drove to Meadville, Pennsylvania, and found Pinkerton.  Pinkerton confessed to the killing, according to the sheriff.

The gun used in  the crime was also located in Iredell County, not far from the Moose residence.

Pinkerton was arrested in Pennsylvania, but was brought back to Statesville Saturday to face murder charges.  Pinkerton is a convicted felon, according to the sheriff.

Following the death of Hugh Moose, detectives had some information, but not enough to find a suspect. An unidentified white male between 25 and 35 years old was seen talking with Moose near the carport door about an hour before his body was discovered, deputies said.

The man was around 5'10" with light brown or sandy blonde hair and was wearing light-colored Carhartt-style overalls. He was also carrying a dark backpack.

"This person was seen walking away from the area of the victim's home within minutes of when of the first 911 call was placed," deputies say.

Witnesses reported seeing the man in the area as early as 5 p.m.

The unidentified man went to another home in the area and asked to use the telephone, where he reportedly asked for a ride and said that he had been walking from East Broad Street and was trying to get to Old Mountain Road.

"The man never took his gloves off and ask the citizen to dial a number for him. It is believed the number started with 704-350. It is also believed that neither call was completed so no record exist," deputies said.

On Thursday Sheriff Darren Campbell said that Pinkerton matched the description given to his office, and that Pinkerton was in town during that time visiting a family member who lives near Moose.

"From the beginning we had witnesses who had seen the man in the area, but because he wasn't from around here, nobody knew who he was," said major Andy Poteat.

RELATED: One year later: Search continues for information in killing of Iredell County businessman

Family and friends say Moose had also been with a woman in the months prior to his death. The unidentified woman, who Moose said he had trouble understanding because of her accent, is around 25 years old with dark hair and a medium build.

Deputies say the woman may have been using drugs, based on information received.

Moose owned Hugh's Sheet Metal and also had rental properties, according to neighbors. His family offered a $30,000 reward for information leading to an arrest in the case.

Deputies released a sketch of the man, who they say had a medium skin tone.

"This sketch is a depiction of the man described walking in the area of Shiloh Road January 10, 2017 wearing Carhartt type clothing. Detectives believe someone has information and may not realize the importance. It could be anything from a friend calling asking for a ride from the area to seeing someone you know walking that day who meets the description," deputies said.

On Thursday Sheriff Campbell expressed his appreciation to all of those who had a hand in the arrest.

"I want to thank everyone involved in this investigation and acknowledge their hard work," Sheriff Campbell said.  "Especially Major Andy Poteat and his team of detectives.  The amount of dedication and devotion given to this case, to never stop investigating every aspect, to check and re-check every details has led to the arrest of this suspect and hopefully some closure for the Moose family.  I want to also thank the various media outlets for giving this case continuing coverage, as well as Sheriff Walter Hoke of the Crawford County, Pennsylvania, Sheriff's Office for their valuable assistance."

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