Murder defendant accused of trying to coax witness out of testifying in Richmond County murder case

By: By William R. Toler -

ROCKINGHAM — A man who was out on bond pending a murder trial, accused of killing his wife, is back behind bars for allegedly intimidating a witness.

According to investigators with the Richmond County Sheriff’s Office, 59-year-old Jerry Dean Guinn Sr., of Safie Third Street in East Rockingham, tried to convince a witness in his case not to testify against him.

Investigators say no threats of harm were made, but rather that Guinn was trying to persuade the witness.

Guinn was arrested Thursday, Aug. 25, and charged with a felony count of intimidating a witness.

He was originally arrested Jan. 13 of this year on an open count of murder for the death of his late wife, Angela Jacobs Guinn, who was killed nearly a decade ago. The charge was later changed to first-degree murder.

Chief Deputy Mark Gulledge told the Daily Journal in January that the victim died from a gunshot wound, but did not have any other details available at the time.

He said the case had remained open for the past eight years and the arrest stemmed from new leads that had been worked by sheriff’s office investigators within the past month.

Investigators brought Guinn in to the sheriff’s office for questioning and later obtained a warrant for his arrest, Gulledge said.

Angela Guinn’s murder was one of seven in Richmond County that year, according to statistics from the N.C. State Bureau of Investigation. Numbers show that 2007 and 2008 both saw the second-highest occurrence of murders in the past 11 years, with 2012 topping the list with eight.

Her obituary states she was the owner of Mom’s Kitchen in Rockingham and died at the age of 41 at her Essie Mae Lane home — off Battley Dairy Road near the South Carolina border — on Sunday, Oct. 7, 2007.

There are no other Daily Journal archives related to this case, aside from a 2010 letter to the editor from Lori Jacobs in response to letter by a relative of another unsolved murder victim.

“We still have no answers to the real truth of who did it or what happened” Jacobs wrote. “We have given all the evidence we came up with, but always a door slams in our face.”

Jerry Guinn was released on bail on the murder charge on March 14, according to records with the Richmond County Jail. He is currently jailed under a $250,000 secured bond.

Online court records show Guinn is scheduled to appear on the intimidation charge Sept. 8. The next scheduled court date on the murder charge is Sept. 12. Records show he also has a court appearance Sept. 15 on a traffic violation of driving with a revoked license.

Guinn’s criminal history has been clean the past 15 years, according to records with the N.C. Department of Public Safety Division of Adult Correction. Prior to 2000, however, records paint a different picture.

He spent two days shy of a year behind bars — from March, 18, 1999 to March, 16, 2000 — following a conviction on three counts of driving while impaired — from one incident in 1993 and two within a month in 1998.

In 1990, Guinn was convicted on a felony charge of selling a Schedule II controlled substance, resulting in a nearly three-year sentence.

Records show he was first convicted in mid-1982 on misdemeanor charges of possession of a Schedule IV controlled substance and assault attempting to inflict serious injury, for which he was given probation.

That probation was revoked in 1984 when he was convicted on a felony forgery charge and he served nearly a year in prison.

All defendants facing criminal charges are presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty in court.

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


By William R. Toler