Pitt County group wants Hustle Mart accessory suspects released - Greenville, NC | News | Weather | Sports - WNCT.com

Pitt County group wants Hustle Mart accessory suspects released

By Katie Banks

GREENVILLE, N.C. - An area group wants two women held in connection to the triple murder at the Farmville Hustle Mart to be released immediately.

The group "Enough is Enough," a voluntary unincorporated organization of citizens in Pitt County, met Tuesday morning on the steps of the Pitt County Courthouse.

They want 25-year-old Zipporah Purvis and 24-year-old Ashley Johnson, both charged with being accessories after the fact to murder, released.

The arrest warrants show Johnson provided a false alibi to investigators by saying her alleged boyfriend, murder suspect Willie Whitehead, was with her the night of the crime. Purvis’ arrest warrant shows she loaned the suspects her car the night of the crime and then told murder suspect Antwan Anthony to remove the license plate and she would provide him with a new one to avoid detection.

A number of people have been arrested in the triple murder. Four are charged with murder outright, the mother of one of the murder suspects (the boy was 14 years old at the time) was arrested for contributing to the delinquency of a minor, and another man is charged with destroying evidence.

The group's founder, Christopher Taylor, says they believe the $3 million bonds for Johnson and Purvis in the case is too high and unfair. 

"A minimum bond needs to be set where these girls can get out of jail and go back to school, and continue their education," said Taylor. "And live for the pursuit of happiness. And let the court decide whether they're innocent or guilty."

Enough is Enough started working with the families of the two girls last week. They noted both Johnson and Purvis were in school and had no criminal records. 

When 9 On Your Side pointed out Purvis' bond was dropped in June to $200,000,Taylorsaid that was still too high. But when I asked him what he would consider to be a fair bond, he would not give me an amount.

Pitt County District Attorney Clark Everett says the severity of the triple murder played a role in their higher bonds, but that both women have a right to petition for lower bonds at their court appearances.

In response to the protest, Everett says these women must be held accountable for any connection to the crime, regardless of when it happened.

“Even if you know that someone else has done something wrong, you can say, ‘I don’t know what you’re talking about. I don’t want to talk to you anymore,’” says Everett. “You get up and walk out. But when you say something proactively, that ‘Yes, he was with me all night,’ or you do something that leads the police to go off in another direction, that is a crime and should be a crime. And it’s irresponsible for anyone to say that it’s not a crime.”

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