Jonathan Richard Pugh, the 18-year-old charged in the shooting death of Todd North early Sunday morning in a Havelock bar, learned his possible fate Wednesday when he went before a Craven County District Court judge.
Pugh is facing only two possible sentences if found guilty, District Court Judge Clint Rowe told him: life in prison or the death penalty.
He is being held with no bond allowed, and his next court date is May 3.
District Attorney Scott Thomas asked the judge to transfer Pugh from the Craven County Jail to the Division of Adult Correction in Raleigh for medical and safety reasons because of the high jail population.
Pugh, a junior at Havelock High School, was shot in the stomach during Sunday’s incident. Law enforcement and the Craven County Sheriff’s Department also were concerned about safety issues because there have been threats against Pugh, Thomas said.
During the first appearance, the courtroom in the basement of the Craven County Courthouse was locked down as part of the tight security. Pugh was not wearing restraints as he entered the courtroom. He was dressed in a blue hospital shirt and pants, wearing yellow socks with no shoes.
Capt. Joe Heckman of the Craven County Sheriff’s Department said Pugh was wearing the hospital clothes because it was all he had when he was released from Vidant Medical Center in Greenville.
Pugh did not have any relatives in the courtroom. Beside the media and judicial personnel, there were three Havelock law enforcement officers present.
According to Havelock police reports, Pugh went to Flyers bar on Sunday morning and was allegedly involved in a group fight. The bar’s security staff removed the group of people to the parking lot. Shortly after 1 a.m. Sunday, Pugh returned to the bar and allegedly fired a handgun at retired Marine Todd North, 39, who was working as head of security at Flyers.
North was trying to lock the door to prevent Pugh from re-entering the bar.
Thomas said an autopsy was conducted on North Monday, and it showed he was hit by 40-caliber bullets four times in the chest and shoulder area.
Four other bar patrons were injured from gunshots: two Marines and two other people who received minor injuries from bullet fragments, Thomas said.
Pugh was shot in the stomach as he and North exchanged gunfire, investigators say.
Heckman said Craven County deputies found Pugh Sunday morning, shortly after the shooting, banging on a door at a residence on Cotton Wood Lane in Havelock. He was transported from there to Vidant, Heckman said.
Thomas said Pugh was released from Vidant Tuesday and placed in the Craven County Jail where he was served a warrant for first-degree murder.
Pugh is facing additional charges, including the shooting of the other victims, Thomas said. The district attorney also said because the case is still under investigation, he could not discuss how Pugh got the handgun or if it was his.
After the first-degree murder charge and possible sentences were explained to Pugh, Thomas turned to him and asked if he had anything to say. Pugh shook his head.