WILSON, N.C. (AP) — A man who was on trial on attempted murder charges fled a North Carolina courtroom while he was on lunch break, authorities said.
The Wilson County Sheriff’s Office is looking for Deonta Earl Bridgers, 31, who jurors convicted in absentia on Wednesday after he fled, The Wilson Times reported. Prior to the court proceedings, Bridgers was on house arrest without any additional restrictions.
Wanda Samuel, the sheriff’s office chief of staff, said a deputy received a tampering alert from Bridgers’ electronic monitoring device on Tuesday when he failed to return to court from lunch. Deputies began searching for Bridgers and found his monitoring device at a dilapidated house, Samuel said.
Samuel said a judge issued a bench warrant for Bridgers’ arrest, and his name was entered into the National Crime Information Center database as a fugitive subject to extradition.
A Wilson County jury on Wednesday convicted Bridgers on charges including two counts of attempted first-degree murder stemming from a February 2019 shooting that left two people injured.
In November 2015, Devon Shamark Crooms vanished during a lunch break in his trial in Wilson County. A jury convicted him in absentia on charges stemming from two shooting deaths in 2011. Crooms was captured in Florida after seven months on the run.