05 November 2023 :
NOVEMBER 2, 2023 - W. D. Buckman sentenced to death
Wisezah Datawn Buckman, now 35, Black, was sentenced to death on Thursday after a Dare County Superior Court jury recommended the convicted murderer receive that punishment for his role in the slaying of 4 prison employees during a failed escape attempt at Pasquotank Correctional Institution in October 2017.
The jury recommended Buckman receive the death penalty for 3 of the murders — those of correctional officers Wendy Shannon and Justin Smith, and maintenance mechanic Geoffrey Howe. They recommended he receive life in prison without the possibility of parole for the murder of Veronica Darden, who was the prison sewing plant manager where the escape attempt by Buckman and 3 other inmates began on Oct. 12, 2017.
There was no immediate explanation for the jury's decision for the life sentence for Darden's murder.
Superior Court Judge Jerry Tillett read the jury's recommendation and then polled each juror individually to confirm their recommendation. After thanking jurors for their service and releasing them from the courtroom, Tillett instructed Buckman to stand. He then sentenced the inmate to life imprisonment in the N.C. Department of Adult Correction without parole for Darden's murder and death by execution by the N.C. Department of Public Safety for the murders of Shannon, Smith and Howe.
Buckman is the second prison inmate sentenced to death for the prison murders at Pasquotank Correctional Institution on Oct. 12, 2017. Mikel Edward Brady was also convicted in 2019 of the 4 murders and sentenced to death. Two other inmates who participated in the escape attempt, Jonathan Monk and Seth Frazier, are still awaiting trial.
There have been no executions in North Carolina since 2006.