Pugh to serve up to 52 years in death of bouncer Todd North

A Havelock man will spend 41 to 52 years in prison for the shooting death of a popular bar bouncer in Havelock in 2013.

Jonathan Pugh, 21, pleaded guilty to second-degree murder and other charges on Monday in Craven County Superior Court in New Bern. He shot and killed bar security guard Todd Asa North, 39.

Pugh, 21, was 18 on April 14, 2013, when he and others were involved in a fight inside Flyers, a club located off Fontana Boulevard in Havelock. The two groups were escorted out of the club by security, including North, a retired Marine. Pugh left the scene, retrieved a handgun and returned to the bar at about 1 a.m., according to the investigation.

According to witnesses at the scene, North was told about the gun, and then retrieved his own weapon and stood at the entrance of the bar. North blocked the door with his body, attempting to lock it against Pugh when the latter shot him four times with four .40-caliber rounds in the chest and shoulder. Five other bar patrons were also injured by the gunshots.

North was able to fire his own gun, wounding Pugh in the stomach.

Pugh fled the scene, but was tracked down and arrested. The murder weapon was found in his waistband.

North was transported to the hospital but later died. He was hailed as a hero by many of the bar patrons that night who said his actions prevented Pugh from entering the bar and shooting more people.

District Attorney Scott Thomas said, had Pugh not pleaded guilty, his trial would have started on March 27.

“We never heard any reasonable plea from his attorney until Friday,” Thomas said.

But on Friday the deal was negotiated, and Pugh stood before Superior Court Judge Ben Alford on Monday at 2 p.m.

He pleaded guilty to second-degree murder, discharging a weapon into occupied property, and five counts of assault with a deadly weapon with intent to kill, inflicting serious injury. Alford sentenced Pugh to consecutive prison sentences that total 495 to 630 months.

Thomas is confident Pugh will serve most of that sentence.

“You have to serve all of the minimum and closer to the maximum in a case like this,” he said. “A sentence of 52 years is essentially a life sentence.”

If he serves the full sentence, Pugh would be 73 years old when he is released.

Thomas said that North’s widow agreed to the deal and was present during the hearing Monday before Alford.

The case was prosecuted by Thomas and assistant district attorneys Karen Hobbs and Terry Light.

The Havelock Police Department led the investigation, with help from the Craven County Sheriff’s Office, Naval Criminal Investigative Service and a firearms expert from the N.C. State Crime Lab in Raleigh.