William Dewayne Simmons will spend the rest of his life in prison for the slaying of Carlos David Alfonso Jr.
Superior Court Judge Jim Hardin handed down the life sentence for murder and armed robbery today in Columbus County Superior Court. A Columbus County jury deliberated around an hour Wednesday before returning the verdict.
Simmons, 21, was found guilty Wednesday of murdering and robbing Alfonso in September 2018. A missing persons report was filed as Hurricane Florence bore down on the region. His body was found in a flooded ditch along N.C. 410 near the Bladen County line at the height of the storm. Initial reports about the body were that Alfonso had drowned or been struck by a car while walking. Responding deputies discovered what appeared to be shotgun wounds.
Alfonso disappeared Sept. 13, 2018 after getting into a car at the Sun Do gas station in Evergreen. Officials said the friend was with Alfonso when the victim saw Simmons and left with him. Alfonso left his phone in the friend’s vehicle, according to investigators. The phone was later returned.
The sheriff’s office was contacted about the body around noon on Sept. 16, during the height of Hurricane Florence. His body was identified at the state Medical Examiner’s Office.
District attorney Jon David prosecuted the case. Harold “Butch” Pope of Whiteville was defense counsel.