Whisnant accepts plea deal in murder charge

Sentenced to 97 months and restitution
Sep. 19, 2013 @ 09:50 AM

A man charged with murder earlier this year by Thomasville police accepted a plea deal last week.

According to Jo Black with the Davidson County District Attorney's office, Eric Whisnant, 29, of Tate Street in High Point, on Sept. 12 pleaded guilty to voluntary manslaughter in the death of 47-year-old Wayne Turner. Whisnant received a 97 to 129-month active sentence from Superior Court Judge Anna Mills Wagoner and must pay $11,196.28 in restitution to the victim's family.

As part of his plea deal, Whisnant, who had an habitual felon charge dismissed, also must earn his General Education Diploma (GED) while incarcerated at the North Carolina Department of Corrections and pay an additional $2,744.50 in court costs. Should he be granted work release during his sentence, all the money Whisnant makes will go toward paying restitution.

"All of this is part of the judgement against him," Black said.

Thomasville detectives arrested Whisnant in January following an investigation into the fatal stabbing of Turner at 815 Martin Luther King Jr. Drive. Police on Jan. 19 arrived at the scene at approximately 2:45 a.m. and found Turner lying in the parking lot suffering from a stab wound to his abdomen. Emergency personnel transported the victim to Novant Health Thomasville Medical Center, where he later succumbed to his injuries.

Witnesses at the scene helped detectives identify the vehicle Whisnant fled in, leading to his arrest at a home in High Point. Thomasville Police Department charged Whisnant with first degree murder.   

Davidson County District Attorney Garry Frank said a plea deal was reached due to "evidentiary issues" surrounding the stabbing. An altercation between Whisnant and Turner involving a woman took place at an apartment complex. 

"It was said in court that this was a compromise plea and that's what led to the voluntary manslaughter plea," said Frank. "We had some evidentiary issues that concerned us in the case. Under the circumstances, one of the versions that was related would have possibly supported some kind of self defense or other claims."

Whisnant's criminal history includes convictions for domestic violence, assault, carrying a concealed weapon and probation violation. 

 

Staff Writer Eliot Duke can be reached at 888-3578, or duke@tvilletimes.com.