A man on trial for attempted murder in North Carolina somehow escaped the courtroom during his lunch break, WRAL reports. He remains on the run.
According to the Wilson County Sheriff's Office, 31-year-old Deonta Earl Bridgers was on house arrest prior to his court date. He arrived to court on Tuesday (April 13) to face the attempted murder charges but fled in the middle of the proceedings.
Authorities realized something was amiss when Bridgers didn't return from lunch. According to the sheriff's office Chief of Staff Wanda Samuel, that's when a deputy got an alert from Bridgers' electronic monitoring device warning of tampering. After a search to locate the missing defendant, they found the device at a "dilapidated house" with Bridgers nowhere in sight.
According to the news outlet, Bridgers has been added as a fugitive subject to extradition to the National Crime Information Center database and a warrant was issued for his arrest.
Though he was no longer at his trial in person, the jury still delivered their verdict. On Wednesday, a jury convicted him in absentia for two counts of attempted murder in connection to a February 2019 shooting that left two people injured, WRAL reports.
This isn't the first time a defendant has escaped a Wilson County courtroom mid-trial. In 2015, Devon Shamark Crooms disappeared during his lunch break, while a jury found him guilty for his role in a fatal shooting in 2011. He was captured seven months later.
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