JACKSONVILLE, N.C. — A habitual felon was found guilty and sentenced on Wednesday for a shooting that happened in 2017 in Onslow County.

Below is a press release from District Attorney Ernie Lee’s office with more details:

William Anthony Bryant, Sr. of Pollocksville/Maysville area was found guilty by an Onslow County jury of discharging a weapon into occupied property inflicting serious bodily injury, assault with a deadly weapon inflicting serious injury, possession of firearm by felon, and assault with a deadly weapon in Onslow County Superior Court on Tuesday, December 14, 2021.  The defendant then admitted his status as a habitual felon.  In North Carolina, a defendant reaches the status of a habitual felon if he has at least three prior felonies, two of the three must be after his eighteenth birthday, and the dates of offense and dates of conviction do not overlap. The defendant had been convicted of several criminal offenses over the last thirty years including, but not limited to, three counts of DWI, three counts of resisting public officer, three counts of injury to personal property, three counts of possession of cocaine, one count of possession with intent to manufacture, sell, or deliver cocaine, two counts of sale of cocaine, and assault on a female and 2 counts of driving while license revoked for an impaired revocation.  The defendant was currently on supervised probation for a felony drug charge at the time of this offense. 

Senior Resident Superior Court Judge Imelda Pate of Lenoir and Greene Counties sentenced the defendant to an active sentence of a minimum of 117 months and a maximum of 153 months plus a consecutive sentence of a minimum of 101 months and a maximum of 134 months.  The defendant was sentenced to a minimum of 18 years 2 months and a maximum of 23 years and 11 months in the North Carolina Department of Adult Correction. 

The trial began with jury selection on December 6 and the State completed its evidence on December 14, 2021.  The defendant did not put on any evidence.  The closing arguments were December 14, 2021 and the jury deliberated for less than two hours. 

During the seven-day trial, the State’s evidence showed that at approximately 10 p.m. on Wednesday, January 18, 2017, the two victims were parked in a Toyota Camry at 538 Spring Hill Road in Maysville when the defendant pulled up behind them in his dark colored Nissan Frontier pick-up truck.  The defendant got out of his vehicle with a 9 mm handgun and approached the vehicle.  The driver then quickly drove the car through the front yard to get away, but the defendant shot at the vehicle 5 times and the passenger was struck once in the left chest underneath his armpit.  The driver then drove to 304 First Street in Maysville and emergency medical personnel and law enforcement were dispatched. The gunshot wound victim was soon airlifted to Vidant Medical Center in Greenville. He underwent emergency surgery, and it was determined that the bullet did not strike any major organs or blood vessels. The victim then spent the next seven days in the hospital recovering from the gunshot wound and surgery.

The Onslow County Sheriff’s Office processed the Toyota Camry and saw a large patch of grass and dirt stuck in the grill of the car and 5 bullet holes. One projectile was found in the trunk of the vehicle. The trajectory of one of those bullet holes went through the back passenger door into the front passenger seat area, which corresponded with where the victim was shot underneath his left armpit.  Through the course of the investigation, law enforcement was able to determine the nickname of the shooter as Amp Sinclair, the general area where the shooter lived was near Vance Lance in Maysville, and that the shooter was driving a dark-colored Nissan Frontier pick-up truck. 

The next morning, the Onslow County Sheriff’s Office went to Vance Lane to investigate this information. There they found a single-wide trailer located at 120 Vance Lane, lot 2 that had a dark-colored Nissan Frontier parked in the yard. The truck was registered to Ella Sinclair Bryant and William Anthony Bryant, the defendant.  

A search warrant was obtained to search the vehicle and the house. When law enforcement executed the search warrant, they found the defendant inside the home in his bed clothes.  Inside the vehicle was the defendant’s wallet and identification card.  Inside his home in the master bedroom was a gun box for a 9 mm handgun and 9 mm ammunition. Inside this same bedroom were several words written on a mirror that were associated with the defendant, including his nickname, Amp. Several Blazer 9 mm cartridge casings were also found in his yard.

Through the course of the investigation, the Onslow County Sheriff’s Office was able to determine that the shooting occurred at 538 Spring Hill Road in Maysville, Onslow County. There were deep tire tracks in the front yard and ditch area leading onto Spring Hill Road. There was also a large piece of grass and dirt missing in the ditch. According to crime scene investigator Sgt. Mitch Gordon, it appeared that the victim’s vehicle left in a hurry and hit the ditch. A large patch of grass and dirt were missing from the ditch. This was consistent with the patch of grass and dirt found in the grill of the Toyota Camry. Four Blazer 9mm cartridge casings were found in the front yard. The make and caliber of the cartridge casings were the same as the cartridge casings found in the yard of the defendant’s home. No firearm was recovered at this time.

The defendant was detained and interviewed at the Onslow County Sheriff’s Office and admitted that he had previously been disrespected by the victims.  He went to the address on Spring Hill Road and saw them. The defendant parked behind them and got out with his 9mm handgun. The defendant then admitted he shot at their vehicle. The statement was audio and video recorded. The defendant also wrote statement apologizing for what he did and printed his nickname as Amp and then signed the statement with his full name, William Bryant. The defendant was charged and subsequently bonded out.

The State’s evidence further showed that the defendant drove his Nissan Frontier truck on 10/28/17 to 2636 Belgrade/Swansboro Rd. An altercation occurred at that address where a 9 mm handgun was found.  The defendant was interviewed about the altercation and 9 mm handgun and admitted that he possessed the handgun. He also told law enforcement that the gun didn’t work.  The 9 mm handgun and the cartridge casings found at the defendant’s residence and at the shooting scene from January 18, 2017 were sent to the State Crime Lab for analysis.

Crime lab analyst Justin Kirk determined that a cartridge casing found in the yard at the defendant’s house and a cartridge case found in the yard of the shooting on January 18, 2017 had both been fired from the same firearm, the 9 mm handgun found at the altercation on October 28, 2017 It is important to note that analyst Kirk did a firearm function test and discovered that the handgun did intermittently malfunction.   

The lead investigator was Lt. Lucinda Hernandez, and the crime scenes were processed by Sgt. Mitch Gordon and Deputy Matthew Ennis.  The defendant was interviewed by Major Mark Scott and later Det. Kenny Simma. The Onslow County Sheriff’s Office did an excellent job in gathering information and following-up on leads and locating and testing physical evidence in order confirm the identity of the shooter and what had happened.

The State of North Carolina was represented by Violent Crimes Assistant District Attorney Michele Morton. The defendant was represented by defense counsel, Mark Key, of Harnett County.

District Attorney Ernie Lee states that “This case demonstrates the dangers of guns and drug-motivated crimes. This defendant was vigorously prosecuted due to his extensive criminal record, his choice to unlawfully possess a firearm and his extremely reckless and dangerous actions with that firearm.  Thankfully, the victim fully recovered and no one else was injured during this extremely dangerous act of violence. For those individuals that commit acts of violence and possess a gun unlawfully, they must be dealt with in a manner that punishes them for their actions including substantial active sentences.”