Duplin County man accused of killing witness in murder trial pleads guilty, avoids death penalty

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KENANSVILLE, N.C. (WNCT) — A Duplin County man pled guilty on Friday to killing a witness in his 2014 murder trial.

Nashid Porter of Wallace pled guilty to first-degree murder of Obediah Hester IV.  Hester was a state’s witness against Porter in a 2012 Wilmington murder case of Brian Grant.

Porter was out on pretrial release for the 2012 murder when he shot and killed Hester behind a trailer at 1071 Wards Rd. in Wallace NC on November 12, 2014, officials said. Porter was charged with first-degree murder, and Judge Thomas Lock sentenced him to life without parole. That sentence begins at the end of his other life sentence.

There was a possibility for Porter to face a death sentence but it was taken off the table Friday in a plea deal.

In court Friday, members of the victim’s family spoke: Hester’s mother April Williams and both of his grandmothers, Sarah Bragg and Thelma Williams.

“I suffer every morning I wake up without my son, there for his sons,” Williams said. “Because he has 3 sons, 16, 9, and 7 and they miss him. We found out two of them have a kidney disease now, and they need their father.”

District Attorney Ernie Lee said he was happy with the judge’s decision of life without parole in the hopes that it will give the victim’s family some degree of closure.

“I feel for these families who had to deal with this because again what they want I can’t give back,” Lee said. “They want their loved one back. All I can do is try to get justice today, which I think we got justice. And try to give them some degree of closure.”

Lee says that the crimes that Porter committed were senseless and that he must face the consequences. He also said the Duplin County Sheriff’s Office did a great job investigating the case and thanked them for all their efforts working with the DA’s Office. 

Hester’s Mother, April Williams says she suffers every morning when she wakes up without her son, and that he can’t be there for his sons. Hester had three sons, now ages 16, 9, and 7, two of which have recently been diagnosed with a kidney disease. Williams says they miss their father dearly. 

Hester’s Grandmother, Thelma Williams says that Hester was loved by everyone and had no enemies. 

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