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Two charged in quadruple murder case

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James Edward Powell

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BY AMELIA HARPER
Staff Writer

Wednesday, January 10, 2018

Two additional suspects in a quadruple murder in Enfield appeared before a judge to face murder charges Tuesday morning in Halifax County.

Halifax County Sheriff Wes Tripp announced earlier this week that three suspects are now in custody in connection with the slaying of four people last August in Halifax County. Matthew Lewis Sims, 25, of Enfield was arrested and charged in connection with the incident in October. Two more arrests were made since Saturday.

“Based on continuous investigation by deputies and agents from the State Bureau of Investigation, additional arrests in the quadruple murder in Enfield have been made,” Tripp said in a social media post on Monday. 

Keyon Quarice West, 23, and James Edward Powell, 25, both of Roanoke Rapids, were arrested and each face four counts of murder in connection with the Aug. 21 deaths of James and Peggy Whitley and their friends, James and Janice Harris. The two couples were killed while they were playing cards in the kitchen of the Harris home at 980 Fishing Creek Road in the Glenview community near Enfield.

In the past, Tripp said he felt the slayings were gang-related. On Monday, he hinted that these arrests may not be the end.

“The investigation continues,” Tripp said in his statement. “Due to the integrity of this case and respect to the families, no further information will be released at this time.”

Two of the three men arrested so far are currently facing murder charges in connection with other crimes. Powell was arrested last weekend and charged with murder, attempted murder and robbery with a dangerous weapon in connection with the shooting death of Travis Johnson of Roanoke Rapids on Saturday.

Simms, who was arrested in connection with the quadruple homicide in October, had reportedly failed to appear in court in connection with charges he still faces for the June 22, 2015, death of Jarhamel Cambridge of Enfield. Simms was reportedly out on bond for that homicide when the quadruple slaying occurred.

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