Stroupe II, takes plea deal to avoid capital murder trial

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Henderson County, NC (WSPA) – On Tuesday, Phillip Stroupe II was sentenced to life in prison without parole. He plead guilty to kidnapping and murder, from four years ago in Henderson County. It’s been a tough time for Thomas Bryson’s family, it’s been four years since his murder. Tuesday’s deal is a sense of relief for them in this very difficult situation.

Thomas Bryson’s murder came after a long manhunt for Phillip Michael Stroupe II.  

“I think my brother and I talked about this a lot I just would have been able to say goodbye to my father.” victim’s son, Rick Bryson said.

In July of 2017, Phillip Michael Stroupe II ran from deputies after a traffic stop.

“I will never complete get over this after 4 years however we have slowly begun to heal.” victim’s son, Joey Bryson said.

Stroupe made his way to Pisgah National Forest, where deputies say he kidnapped Thomas Bryson, stole his truck, then shot him and left him in a cornfield.

“Until someone’s walked in our shoes no one is going to fully understand what we’ve been through.” Victim’s son, Joey Bryson said

In order to avoid a long trial Bryson’s family accepted the guilty plea and life sentence without the possibility of parole.

“Mr. Stroupe pled to one count of first-degree murder where he received life without parole, and he pled to two counts of armed robbery and one count of kidnapping and that totals 25 to 33 years, and they will be served consecutively.” North Carolina, District Attorney, Andrew Murray said.

Several factors contributed to the trails delay, the defendant changing attorneys, changes at the district attorney’s office and even covid.

This guilty plea limits Stroups ability to appeal his sentence.

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