Paul Pelham's Story
My name is Veronica Roberts. I am writing on behalf of Paul E. Pelham who is currently incarcerated in Johnston
Correctional in Smithfield, NC. I know that this organization receives thousands of letters from inmates and their
families alleging their innocence. Paul is innocent in his act. In this letter I will include a lot of information relating to
Paul's situation. There will be subtopics to make it easier to understand. The subheading, My Story, is in first person
and directly from Paul. E. Pelham.
My Story - by Paul Pelham
On the night of October 5, 2001 at about the Brunswick County Sheriffs Department came to my home in
Winnabow, NC with a search warrant. To my understanding this was not an arrest warrant.
Before this incident, earlier that evening I went into my bedroom to lie down because I was not feeling well. While lying
down, I fell asleep. I don't know how long I was asleep but I was awakened by two loud bangs, I thought I was
dreaming. I opened my eyes and closed them back again. Soon after there was another loud noise which was closer than
the other noises. I jumped up out of the bed and felt for my gun under my bed mattress. The lights were off and it was
dark in the bedroom. The only bit of light was from the moonlight coming through my dark brown bedroom blinds.
I stood in front of the window and held my arm out in front of me trying to get focused. I quickly skimmed the bedroom
for any movement. As I was skimming the room a person appeared in front of me, standing over me slightly or about
my height. This person was less than 2 feet in front of me. Out of fear and being startled, I pulled my arm bock in an
upward, bent elbow position, with the gun pointing down. I fired the gun and the person fell backwards on to the mattress
and bounced back up. I fired the gun two more times. I did not wait to see what the other person did. Instead, I
pivoted toward the exit of the bedroom.
I did not make it out of the bedroom door because I saw something like shiny brass going in a downward motion. Therefore,
I changed my foot direction and ran into the bathroom, which is located in the bedroom. I pressed my body (back) against
the wall of the bathroom, which is also a bedroom wall. My left arm was also touching the wall and I had the gun in my
left hand. Within a matter of seconds multiple gunshots went through the thin mobile home wall where 1 was positioned.
I heard the person(s) firing the gun, reload their weapons, and fire more bullets. With all the continual firing, the, bullets
hit me over seventeen times and hit the wall about 70 times. Because the wall was so thin, the bullets went through, hit
my body, hit and shattered the mirror, hit the bath room sink (where hot water was spraying all over me), and exited out
of the back wall of the bathroom, outside of the trailer. I was shot on all parts of my body with the exception of my feet.
I remember the last bullet going through my mouth.
After the person(s) finished unloading their weapons they stated to me "throw out your weapon and to come out with
your hands up." I threw my gun in front of the toilet and they shined a flashlight on it. Then I walked out the bathroom into
the bedroom where they shined their flashlights up and down my body. I had to grab and hold what was remaining of my
left arm. My arm was literally dangling by a piece of skin/meat. One of them realized that I could not put both of my arms
up because I was injured so badly.
One of the people then walked up to me face to face, grabbed my by the collar, swung/spun me around and kicked me
to the floor. Then he stated drag yourself you "muthafuckin' nigger." I complied with fear for my life. I was on my back
and pushed myself with my feet holding to what was left of my arm, As I was pushing myself, I began to slow down
and somebody pointed a gun with a flashlight. at me. I thought they were going to shoot me again. Then somebody stated
again to drag yourself you muthafuckin nigger, you shot my partner.
At that moment I realized they must be the police. I remember thinking and perhaps trying to say it "I didn't know it was
yall (meaning the police)." I dragged myself until I blacked out. I think I blacked out in the kitchen area but very close to
the living room.
When I came to activity was going on, but I blacked out again and woke up on the ambulance. As a result I was shot
17 times. As a result of the seventeen gunshots that entered into my body, I was placed into the intensive care unit at
New Hanover Regional Medical Center in Wilmington, NC. My left arm was shot until the point it was literally hanging
on by a small piece of flesh. A bullet went through the side of my mouth and knocked out 3 or 4 teeth, ripped my tongue
and part of my gums. I had to have reconstructive gum surgery and have my tongue sewn back together. In addition
to this, I now have a metal plate and about 14 screws in my left arm. My left arm will never be able to bend in a normal
way because there is a bullet still in my elbow. It is as if my left arm is nothing but dead weight. If I want my elbow
normal again I will have to have another surgery and have a metal elbow put in. The bullet shattered and broke the elbow
bone to the point it will never heal normally. I will also need a tendon transfer surgery in order to have some what
normal working fingers again. I still have two bullets in my upper chest area which you can feel if you touch my chest.
The doctors did not remove the bullets because it was too much of a risk and it remains a risk today, especially if the
bullets decide to move. The possibility of the bullets shifting scares me. Bullet fragments are also throughout my body. It
is only through the mercy and grace of God I am still live today to tell what happened to me.
Paul Pelham's Attorney
Paul's attorney's name for his trial was John Calvin Chandler. Mr. Chandler was a public defender appointed to Paul
in December of 2001. After the initial meeting with Paul, Mr. Chandler did not meet with Paul until 1-2 months before
his actual trial date. Mr. Chandler did not want to give Paul his discovery at first. He only allowed him to come to his office
and read fifty pages at a time. Ms. Roberts called the NC State Bar and reported him for not giving Paul complete access
to his discovery. After the phone call, Paul was given a complete copy of his discovery to take home.
Mr. Chandler also did not want Paul to have any support during the meetings. Paul asked him a couple of times and
informed Chandler that he wanted me (Ms. Roberts) present during the meetings. Mr. Chandler at first refused until I
spoke up and told Chandler that I knew there was some type of form that Paul could sign. He finally allowed Paul to sign
some type of form that gave Ms, Roberts’s permission to be present at the meetings.
Another thing Mr. Chandler did against Paul was inform him that the judge would not believe his story and the judge
would add aggravated factors to his maximum sentence when he was found guilty. It is not what he said; it is how he said
it and how many times he said it to Paul. Chandler had such a pessimistic view, even if he thought he was working in
Paul's best interest, one would have thought he was working with the state.
The state offered Paul a plea bargain for sixteen to twenty years for the charge of attempted murder and they would drop
the other charges. Paul did not accept the plea bargain. Instead of supporting his client's decision, Mr. Chandler
badgered Paul and continued to ask him several times if he wanted to take the plea bargain. He even went to the extreme
and called Paul at home, and then reminded him that he would be found guilty. He told Paul to say goodbye to his family
also. Mr. Chandler did not stop badgering Paul about the plea bargain until I, Ms. Roberts, told him that I would call the
State Bar on him if he asked Paul to accept the plea bargain again.
Mr. Chandler stated to me "go ahead, I have the number." Instead of calling, I wrote a letter to the North Carolina
Bar Association. Paul's grievance was dismissed without reason though.
Paul also wanted to have his co-defendant subpoenaed, but his lawyer strongly advised him against that. The
Co-defendant was in the house during the beginning of the incident and could testify to Paul whereabouts. Again
instead of supporting his client, Chandler tried to intimidate him by stating that if the co-defendant testified, he would
testify against Paul for the state, and that Paul was not where he said he was during the beginning of the shooting/incident.
He even tried to intimidate Paul by stating that another friend of Paul's was going to testify against him in order to get
his sentenced shortened. None of this ever happened. I am sure there are a few things that have been left out left out about
this incompetent attorney.
Judge was over Floyd Ammons Jr. was over Paul trial. He was from Fayetteville, North Carolina. The judge allowed a
4-day break (including the weekend) because he stated he had a prior engagement to attend. There was no court on
Friday, October 25, or Monday, October 28, 2003. Paul believes this break could have affected the jury's decision. At
one point in time during jury deliberation, the jury appeared to be hung. However the judge continued to send them back
in the jury room and emphasized it was their duty to come back with a verdict(s).
The State's Assistant District Attorney
The DA for the state is Chris Thomas. According to Thomas, Paul's motive for the crime was that Paul was already
on probation and he knew if he got into any trouble he would spend time in jail.
My Story Continued
I had no motive for shooting anybody. I was on probation but that was not related to this case. It was my first time in
trouble with the law. I received deferred prosecution which consisted of 75 hours of community service, one year
probation, and random urine tests. Again I had no motive for shooting anyone. I shot a person, whom I did not know
was a cop, in fear for my life. I believed someone was trying to endanger my life and I had to protect myself.
Now I have been found guilty of 8 charges which amount to 19 and 1/2 years to 26 years. I am in the appeals
process currently. My appeals attorney is Mark. D. Montgomery located in Durham, NC. I have filed a law suit from
prison. My lawsuit claim has made it through the frivolous review and I have been granted permission to proceed with
my claim. The United States Eastern District Court of North Carolina, Western Division has ordered North Carolina
Prison Legal Services to do an in depth investigation and possibly help me find a civil attorney.
Thank you for taking the time out to read this letter. It is a horrible thing what the Brunswick County Sheriffs Department
did to my fiancée. They came up in his home with a warrant that Paul never received. Paul was shot several times and
still suffers from this incident to this day. The BCSD tried to kill Paul that night and failed. Paul stayed in the hospital for
about one month. Later, I will mail pictures which will illustrate the beginning to the end of his recovery. It is only through
the grace and mercy of the Father that Paul is still alive today.
He does have a support system, which is willing to help out in any way we can
Again thank you.
Peace and Justice,
2465 U.S. 70 West
Smithfield, NC 27577