ARDEN, N.C. (WNCN) — The district attorney representing three North Carolina mountain counties will be seeking the death penalty against Phillip Stroupe II.
Stroupe is being charged with first-degree murder in the death of Thomas Bryson, according to Greg Newman, the district attorney for Judicial District 29B, which covers Henderson, Polk and Transylvania counties.
Bryson, 68, vanished from his Mills River home while Stroupe was on the run last week.
Bryson’s body was found Sunday night in a corn field in Arden after Stroupe was found Thursday in McDowell County with Bryson’s truck.
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Stroupe was on the run for days after he ran from law enforcement into Pisgah Forest and then fled on a mountain bike into woods.
Henderson Sheriff Charles McDonald said at a news conference that Stroupe kidnapped Bryson right after he left Wednesday morning and likely killed him shortly after. Neither Newman nor McDonald would say how Bryson died.
Stroupe’s father, Phillip Michael Stroupe, 65, of Bursnville, has been charged with felony accessory after the fact of first-degree kidnapping.
Jennifer Elaine Hawkins, 40, Frederick Aurther Badgero Jr., 45, and Larry Jay Hawkins III, 23, are charged with felony harboring an escapee.
Deputies say the three helped Stroupe evade law enforcement.