Short pled guilty to second-degree murder in the toddler Dy’Unanna Anderson’s murder.
Superior Court Judge Wayland Sermons, a senior resident judge of the 2nd Judicial District, sentenced Short to 300 months to 372 months in prison.
The sentence from the plea agreement is equal to what Short would have received had he been found guilty of murder in a trial, Assistant District Attorney Keith Werner told the court. A life sentence because Short was 17 at the time of the murder would have meant he would have been eligible for parole after serving 25 years of his sentence.
Moody pled guilty to attempted murder of the child’s grandmother and was sentenced to 125 months to 162 months.
Sermons indicated Moody had a change of heart and agreed to help the state in its prosecution of other defendants in the case, the remaining two scheduled to appear in court Tuesday.
“At least you attempted to do the right thing,” Sermons told Moody, who was 19 at the time of the murder and shooting. “At least you were willing to accept this plea.”
Speaking to the family of Dy’Uanna and her grandmother, Catherine Price, Sermons said, “The loss y’all suffered is immeasurable. I don’t think anything I say is going to make an immediate change.”
Sermons told Moody he hoped his change of heart will carry on to prison. He said the case is an example of how “using guns to solve problems” is not the answer.
District Attorney Valerie M. Asbell said in a statement upon calling the cases for trial, both Short and Moody entered pleas of guilty, Moody for the attempted murder of Price and Short for the murder of Dy’Uanna.
“I am glad this part is over for the family of Dy’Uanna Anderson and Mrs. Catherine Price. We will continue to pray for Ms. Anderson and Mrs. Price’s family during this process,” Asbell said. “I want to thank Assistant District Attorney Keith Werner for assisting me in this case and for his hard work in preparing this case for trial.
“I also want to commend (Weldon) Chief Mark Macon and Deputy Chief James Avens and the other members of the Weldon Police Department for their quick response and excellent investigation during this case. I also want to thank the North Carolina State Bureau of Investigation for their hard work on this case as well.”
Said Asbell: “This was a horrendous event which shocked our entire community especially when it involved the murder of an innocent 2-year-old girl and the attempted murder of her grandmother. It is my job as district attorney to hold people accountable for their actions and their roles in certain crimes.
“Our homes are where we should feel safe and when events like this occur, it shakes our sense of security in the sanctity of our own homes. My first duty as district attorney is to protect the public and the citizens of Halifax County from further harm from these individuals.”
The murder of the toddler and the shooting of her grandmother on Cedar Street was done in retribution for the murder of 15-year-old Keyuon Garner, which occurred earlier in the evening of August 5, Werner told the court.
Garner was murdered in an area of South Weldon known as The Strip.
Werner said Short, Moody, Victor Mallory and William Cook “decided to take matters in their own hands.”
They knew where the sister of Teddy Anderson, who was arrested in Garner’s murder, lived and Cook took them to an area of Weldon called The Cut, which is an alley between Cedar and Maple streets.
Moody and Short stood on an air conditioning unit at a window where the baby, her mother and Price slept, Werner said. Mallory was on the ground.
Price sustained several bullets in her body and she still carries a bullet which lodged in her skull. The baby died from a bullet which exited from the top of her head and she most likely perished before reaching the hospital.
Price was airlifted and had to be revived twice, Werner said. “She died twice, but was able to tell what happened.”
Cook, who is scheduled to appear in court Tuesday, along with Mallory, admitted his role, Werner said and Moody gave a statement “clearing up who had what weapon.”