Woman pleads guilty to helping man who shot deputy, receives 32-51 month sentence

Woman pleads guilty to helping man who shot deputy, receives 32-51 month sentence
Stephanie Sipes (Source: WBTV-Steve Ohnesorge)

LENOIR, NC (WBTV) - A woman who was charged as an accessory after the fact of an assault with a deadly weapon in a case where a Caldwell County Deputy was seriously wounded pleaded guilty on Monday.

'Stephanie Sipes admitted she was with Huey Townsend when he shot Deputy Jordan Sherill in July, 2018. She says she and Townsend had just left a residence where they had smoked methamphetamine and when the deputy pulled over their vehicle both were scared of going to jail. “I had an outstanding warrant for failure to appear.”

Townsend, she said, had just gotten out of prison and had a firearm in the car and Sipes said he told her “I’m not going back to jail.” She says she hid her face by starting to color in a book and that’s when Townsend leaned out and fired. They drove off, went to a motel and tried to enlist others to help them hide.

They broke into a home in Caldwell County and that’s where a SWAT team moved in two days after the shooting and got into a short gun battle with Townsend. He was killed and she was found hiding under a blanket and arrested. The defense said they were not making any excuses for her behavior but pointed out that her drug problems started as a child when she was sexually abused.

On the witness stand Sipes answered a question as to whether she was sorry for what happened by saying “It cost him some problems it cost me some problems.” Judge Lou Trosch said the apology “Left a lot to be desired.” On Tuesday, Sipes was formally sentenced for 32-51 months in prison.

Deputy Sherill is still recovering from his wounds but is back on duty and hopes to put the whole matter behind him. “I just want to go out and do the best job I can,” he said.

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