North Carolina man may face death penalty after his mom turned him in for murder

·3 min read

A North Carolina murder suspect will appear in court again next week after allegedly being turned in by his own mother, who recognised him from CCTV footage on the news.

Charles Michael Haywood, 22, has been charged with first degree murder in connection with the 24 August death of Margaret Bracey, 42. The Surf City business owner was fatally stabbed while working at Exotic Hemp Company when a suspect was caught on camera entering the store, speaking with her, grabbing cash when she opened the register and then stabbing her multiple times.

Mr Haywood returned that day with a bleeding hand to the home he was sharing temporarily with his mother, who took him to the hospital for treatment, according to local reports.

Later she saw surveillance footage picturing her son in connection with the murder – and took him to the police station, where he was arrested, the morning after the murder, according to warrants obtained by WECT.

Haywood has been charged with first degree murder and armed robbery for the 24 August stabbing death of Margaret Bracey, 42 (Surf City Police Department)
Haywood has been charged with first degree murder and armed robbery for the 24 August stabbing death of Margaret Bracey, 42 (Surf City Police Department)

Mr Haywood allegedly stole about $750 of merchandise and cash, put it in his backpack, then left his sweatpants and bandana at the scene - exiting in just his shirt, boxers and flip flops, WECT reported.

Police followed a trail of blood drops to an intersection around 700 feet from the home Haywood was sharing with his mother.

“[Haywood’s mother] brought Haywood to the Surf City Police Department where he was interviewed and ultimately arrested for first-degree murder and armed robbery,” the documents state, according to WECT.

“While interviewing [Haywood’s mother], she advised that Haywood had returned to her residence with his shirt wrapped around his hand. [She] stated that Haywood entered the residence and showered. [She] stated that she checked on Haywood and found that he had a laceration to his hand that required medical attention.

“[She] stated that Haywood put the shirt he had wrapped around his hand into a trash bag and put the trash bag into the outside trash can.”

WECT reported that police seized Haywood’s clothes, medical records and surveillance from the hospital where he was treated.

Margaret Nicole Bracey, 42, was working in Exotic Hemp in Surf City when she was killed during a robbery last month (Instagram/Margaret Nicole Bracey)
Margaret Nicole Bracey, 42, was working in Exotic Hemp in Surf City when she was killed during a robbery last month (Instagram/Margaret Nicole Bracey)

Mr Haywood has been charged with murder and armed robbery and is being held with no bond. The 22-year-old – who was originally from Holly Springs, about two hours inland – made his first court appearance on 26 August.

The Pender County District Attorney is pushing for the death penalty, WWAY reported.

“I know this is a case that has shocked the community,” DA Ben David told the station. “I know this is something that a lot of people have turned their attention to, and we are most certainly giving this a very high priority in the criminal justice system.”

Tributes have poured in for Ms Bracey; a man who answered the phone at her store on Friday told The Independent no manager was available to talk.

“Just like everyone else that loves you, we are all in disbelief and wish we could wake up from this nightmare,” one friend wrote on the victim’s Facebook page.

Surf City mayor Doug Medlin echoed those sentiments.

“We just don’t understand something like this,” he told WWAY. “I mean we’ve had people go in and steal stuff, and things like that but nothing like a robbery, and then specially someone get killed in the process, so that’s what really shocks the town.”