A woman tied to the shooting of a Caldwell County deputy in July 2018 will spend 32 to 51 months in prison following her conviction for accessory after the fact to assault with a deadly weapon with intent to kill inflicting serious injury during Caldwell County Superior Court on Monday, January 7, 2019.
Stephanie Lee Sipes, 41, of Lenoir, pleaded guilty as charged and admitted to aggravating factors in the shooting of Deputy Jordan Sherrill during a traffic stop.
The Honorable Louis A. Trosch Jr., of Mecklenburg County, imposed the active prison term for Sipes, who will serve the sentence in custody of the North Carolina Division of Adult Corrections.
Deputy Sherrill was present in the courtroom when Sipes entered the guilty plea, and Caldwell County Sheriff Alan C. Jones spoke on behalf of the deputy and the department.
The shooting occurred on July 15, 2018, when Deputy Sherrill initiated a traffic stop for an expired tag along Cheraw Road. When Sherrill approached the car, the driver of the vehicle, Kerry Townsend, fired a single shot that struck the deputy in the abdomen. Sherrill made his way back to his vehicle where he called for assistance.
The suspects left the scene in the car, and a private citizen assisted Sherill with his injuries until medical personnel arrived. The deputy later was flown from Caldwell Memorial Hospital to Carolinas Medical Center in Charlotte for treatment of his injuries.
Following an extensive search and numerous interviews, investigators learned that a breaking and entering had taken place on Zacks Fork Road. The Caldwell County Sheriff’s Office SWAT Team went to the residence on July 17, 2018, and made entry into the home. Team members found Sipes hiding under a blanket in the living room and Townsend was in a back bedroom. Townsend fired a shot at team members, who returned gunfire that resulted in Townsend’s death.
Sipes gave investigators an account of what happened that led up to the shooting of Deputy Sherrill and then how she and Townsend moved around until being located the day Townsend died.
A third suspect, James Edgar Roberts, also has been charged with accessory after the fact. His case is still pending. He is considered innocent unless and until proven guilty in a court of law.
Doug Dupell handled the investigation for the Caldwell County Sheriff’s Office. The North Carolina State Bureau of Investigation and other local law enforcement agencies also assisted with the search for the suspects. Assistant District Attorney Nancy Lee prosecuted the case for the State.
CONTACT: Nathan Key