B.J. Wright plea nets 12.5-17.5 year sentence

B.J. Wright

By DEUCE NIVEN

    Billy Jay “B.J.” Wright entered guilty pleas to a long list of charges Thursday that should ensure his imprisonment until he is almost 40, Assistant District Attorney Heath Nance said.
    Now 27, Wright was sentenced to serve from 12.5 to 17.5 years in prison after entering the plea before Superior Court Judge Doug Sasser in Whiteville.
    “Day for day, that means he will pull 15 years in prison,” District Attorney Jon David said. “That’s a real number.”
    Nance said the plea deal followed negotiations involving Brunswick County attorney Mike Ramos, who represented the former Tabor City resident more recently living in Whiteville.
    “Mr. Ramos has been in contact with our office pretty consistently,” Nance said. “We worked with sentencing numbers. Of course, we were a little bit higher, he was a little bit lower, and we came to this agreement.”
    Several misdemeanor charges were dismissed as part of the plea deal, Nance said. Those included damage to property and trespass charges at the home of former state Sen. R.C. Soles Jr.
    Wright’s long-term and volatile relationship with Soles, who was North Carolina’s longest serving lawmaker ever, brought exceptional notoriety to his criminal activities.
    Two habitual felon charges were included in the guilty pleas offered by Wright, and one was considered by Judge Sasser for sentencing, Nance said.
    While the habitual felon charges don’t allege a specific criminal act, they allow for longer prison time than the actual crimes might warrant, Nance said. Wright had been indicted on three counts as a habitual felon.
    Wrights guilty pleas included two counts of harassing a jury, conspiracy to obstruct justice, and obstruction of justice, all related to his aborted trial in August.
    That trial ended after the court learned of jury tampering efforts on behalf of Wright in August.
    Wright also admitted guilt to two charges of cocaine possession and driving with a revoked license that stemmed  from a January 2011 traffic stop in Cerro Gordo.
    For more on this story see the Dec. 26 Tabor-Loris Tribune print edition.

Leave a Comment