An Elizabeth City man has been convicted of first-degree murder in the 2010 shooting death of Jonathan Schipper, a college student from Havelock.
Christopher Amyx, 26, was found guilty Tuesday evening after a week-long trial in Pasquotank County Superior Court, according to assistant district attorney Kimberly Pellini. Superior Court Judge J.C. Cole sentenced Amyx to life in prison.
Schipper, a 2004 graduate of Gramercy Christian School in Newport, was 25 when he was shot in the head about 1 p.m. on Oct. 3, 2010, in a dormitory room at Mid-Atlantic Christian University in Elizabeth City. Schipper was a sophomore studying in the Youth and Family Studies Program.
Schipper and Amyx lived on the same floor of the Pearl A. Pressley dormitory at the college.
Amyx, who had been a part-time police officer for the Town of Pinetops, had pleaded not guilty in the trial, claiming the shooting was in self defense. Pellini said Amyx claimed Schipper charged him with a knife, but an investigation showed the knife actually belonged to Amyx.
Amyx was in his dorm room when he used a Glock handgun to shoot Schipper.
Amyx had earlier claimed to investigators that he was gay and was the victim of homophobic taunts by other students at the Christian college. Amyx said he had received written threats, had had his tires slashed and had been the subject of a black spray painted message on the school gymnasium wall.
Amyx later admitted to fabricating all of the allegations.
“The whole thing was bizarre,” Pellini said. “We believe he was threatening himself. He admitted to doing it all himself.”
Pellini said that Schipper’s family attended each day of the trial.
“They had a lot of sorrow for their own family because Jonathan was gone, but they also felt a lot of sorrow for the defendant’s family because there were two families ripped apart because of this,” she said.
Pellini said the trial was very painful for the Schippers.
“It’s still really painful for them,” she said. “They just handled this with such grace, no bitterness, no hate. They just wanted to see justice.”
The Schipper family could not be reached for comment.