Thursday, July 14, 2011

GUILTY Verdict For Epps

EASTVILLE -- The man who chased and repeatedly stabbed Sharone White Bailey last year in a horrific daylight slaying has been found guilty.

Derrick Demond Epps, 37, of Exmore pleaded guilty Tuesday to first-degree murder and two other charges in last July's killing of White, a business owner and counselor who just weeks before had been named the Eastern Shore Citizen of the Year.

Epps, who declined a trial by jury in a last-minute decision, could face life in prison when sentenced later this year.

Epps was the victim's neighbor and attacked Bailey on the afternoon of July 9, 2010, after seeing her return home from work at lunchtime.

Northampton County Commonwealth's Attorney Bruce Jones said Epps, who had been a counseling client of the victim's, had developed the mistaken idea that Bailey's family owed his family money.

Epps' attorney, Garrett Dunham, said the defendant had been previously diagnosed by multiple doctors as a paranoid schizophrenic and the condition played a significant role in the day's events.

Dunham said on the day of the attack, Epps was suffering from a schizophrenic episode and when the "command voices" became stronger, Epps armed himself with a large kitchen knife and confronted Bailey to ask for the money.

"Mrs. Bailey saw the knife and screamed. The defendant grabbed her and stabbed her," Jones said.
Bailey fell, recovered and ran to a neighbor's house for help. Seriously wounded, she left a blood trail visible in photos presented as evidence, Jones said.

Bailey was stabbed again before entering the home of elderly neighbors, where she collapsed. The neighbors called 911.

Epps went back to his house, but returned to the neighbors' residence because "a voice told him she was not dead," according to Northampton County Sheriff's Office Investigator Terry Thomas in a previous testimony.

Jones said Epps kicked through the neighbor's front door during the call and drove the knife into Bailey's chest, driving it down eight and a half inches. Officials said such a massive injury would have caused death within seconds.

Epps then returned a second time to his home, where police arrived shortly after receiving the 911 call. He fled to the woods, where he disposed of the knife, which was never recovered.

Epps was apprehended and taken to the Northampton County Sheriff's Office to await an interview. While in custody there, he told Deputy William Smith he needed to use the restroom.

"He took advantage of that opportunity not to use the restroom, but to knock Deputy Smith out of the way and flee the scene," Jones said.

Epps was taken back into custody after being shot with a Taser.

In addition to first-degree murder, Epps pleaded guilty to charges of entering a dwelling with a deadly weapon with the intent to commit murder and assault and battery of a police officer.

Norfolk Circuit Court Judge John C. Morrison found Epps guilty of all charges, including first-degree murder.

"The evidence certainly justifies his pleas," Morrison said.


R.I.P. Sharone White Bailey

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