Man pleads guilty in 2017 killing of Kannapolis man in Salisbury

Man pleads guilty in 2017 killing of Kannapolis man in Salisbury
Terry Watson, Jr., left, pleaded guilty in the death of Isaiah Gillespie, right. (Submitted photos)

SALISBURY, N.C. (WBTV) - A man charged in a 2017 homicide in Salisbury at the Laurel Pointe apartments has pleaded guilty in Rowan County Criminal Superior Court.

Terry Watson, Jr., was originally charged with the murder of Isaiah Gillespie. On Thursday, he entered a guilty plea to a charge of voluntary manslaughter and one charge of firing into an occupied vehicle.

Watson’s plea was what is known as an Alford Plea, where the defendant does not admit guilt, but acknowledges there is evidence that could lead to a conviction in the case.

Watson was sentenced to between 5-7 years in prison on the manslaughter charge, and from just over a year and half to 3 years for firing into an occupied vehicle.

According to the Salisbury Police Department, the shooting happened just before midnight on November 6, 2017, at the apartment complex. Police say a witness saw an “injured person” being loaded into a vehicle.

The victim, identified as Isaiah Malik Gillespie of Kannapolis, was taken to Novant Rowan Regional Medical Center by a private vehicle with a gunshot wound. Gillespie died at the hospital a short time later, police say.

Officers say Watson Jr. reportedly shot and killed the victim as he was sitting in his car at the apartment complex.

Officers said Gilllespie and Watson Jr. knew each other and there was reportedly a dispute over a girlfriend.

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