Man sentenced to prison in Richmond County shooting case

By: By William R. Toler -

ROCKINGHAM — One of two men charged in a shooting last year is going to prison following a jury trial.

James Wilbert Thomas Jr. was found guilty Thursday on a single count of assault with a deadly weapon with intent to kill inflicting serious injury. Records show he had entered a plea of not guilty.

According to the Richmond County Sheriff’s Office, Thomas and Benjamin Franklin Wall III, shot 37-year-old David Ingram of Hamlet in the back with a handgun at 2 a.m. on April 11, 2015. An incident report says the shooting happened in the road at the intersection of Midway Road and Cherokee Street west of Rockingham.

The pair turned themselves in with their attorneys present a week after the shooting and were arrested without incident, deputies told the Daily Journal last year.

Ingram is now paralyzed from the mid-chest down as a result of the shooting, according to a Friday statement from the sheriff’s office.

Superior Court Judge Claire V. Hill sentenced Thomas to 58 to 82 months in the Division of Adult Correction, according to records with the Richmond County Clerk of Superior Court’s office. Thomas was also ordered to pay a civil judgement of $3,500 for costs and attorney fees, as well as participate in substance abuse treatment and vocational training.

Online court records show Thomas has an appearance scheduled in Richmond County District Court on Sept. 30 on a misdemeanor charge of communicating threats, and an appearance in Montgomery County District Court on Oct. 20 for a traffic violation of driving with a revoked license.

Deputies say Wall is currently in federal prison on unrelated drug charges.

Wall was released from prison in October 2011 after serving a nine-month sentence on a Richmond County conviction of selling Schedule II drugs, according to the N.C. Department of Public Safety Division of Adult Correction. He was also convicted of possession with intent to sell or deliver Schedule II drugs in Scotland County.

Thomas has no prior convictions.

Reach William R. Toler at 910-817-2675 and follow him on Twitter @William_r_Toler.

By William R. Toler