3 charged in man's death
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3 charged in man's death

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A man police were searching for after a man was found dead in a ditch Thursday was taken into custody Saturday. 

Tristian Claude Eugene Shoup, 20, of Granite Falls, was found sleeping in a car at 2908 Greene Grove Road off Shady Grove Road, according to Sheriff Steve Whisenant. 

Shoup’s arrest came after Dylan Thomas Deaton, 19, of Connelly Springs, was found lying on the side of Weaver Lane in Rhodhiss at around 1:22 p.m., according to a release from the Burke County Sheriff’s Office.  

Shoup was charged with accessory after the fact of unspecified murder, kidnapping, and assault with a deadly weapon with intent to kill inflicting serious injury, Whisenant said. 

Also charged in connection with the killing were Matthew Dylan Buckles, 20, of 2581 Raintree Drive in Connelly Springs, and Ryleigh Elizabeth Waldrop, 28, of 725 Tron Ave. NW in Valdese, the release said.

Buckles was charged with felony accessory after the fact, kidnapping and assault with a deadly weapon with intent to kill/inflict serious injury, according to court documents.

Waldrop was charged with felony accessory before the fact, according to court documents.

A search warrant indicated that someone called 911 to report Deaton’s body being found in a ditch off Weaver Lane. Buckles apparently asked the person to drive him to the boat access off Weaver Lane.

The man said he saw what looked like a body in a ditch on Weaver Lane, and when he turned around at the boat access, Buckles said he wanted to show him something.

When they got back to the body, the man commented that Deaton looked dead. Buckles immediately said “I didn’t do it,” according to the search warrant.

Buckles later told the man he and Shoup beat Deaton to death because they were “flipping out on meth,” the search warrant said. Buckles told him the beating happened in his bedroom, and that some of Deaton’s blood was on his blanket.

He went on to say that he and Shoup jumped on Deaton because he got too high, and that he was saying the devil was in him, the search warrant said.

Buckles tried to get the man to turn around so he could get his handcuffs off Deaton, but the man said he wouldn’t stop, according to the search warrant.

Buckles also told the man that he and Shoup put Deaton’s body in the bed of Buckle’s truck to take him to the spot on Weaver Lane, the search warrant said.

When deputies stopped Buckles on Thursday, he was taken into custody and agreed to a voluntary interview at BCSO, the search warrant said.

BCSO along with the State Bureau of Investigation searched Buckles’ home, the BCSO release said.

A woman reached out to The News Herald on Facebook and said she called the police to pickup Shoup so the arrest would be peaceful. She said Shoup is a great kid, and that he was in the wrong place at the wrong time.

“He didn’t kill anybody,” the woman said. “He tried to help that other boy and this is all being blamed on him.”

Buckles was stopped by BCSO deputies Thursday afternoon and taken into custody, the BCSO release said. 

Waldrop asked District Court Judge Wesley Barkley in court Friday to consider that despite a lengthy criminal history, she said she had stayed out of trouble for three years.

“I’ve turned my life around, I have a son, I have two jobs,” Waldrop said. “I’m trying to get back to doing right on the right path but I’ve never done right in life. I’ve always screwed up, always done wrong. I was just in the wrong place at the wrong time with this. Truly.”

Assistant District Attorney Michelle Lippert told Barkley that Waldrop was significantly involved in the crime before the death occurred.

Whisenant told reporters Friday that Waldrop restrained Deaton before he was killed.

Waldrop’s bond was set at $1 million, while Buckles’ bond was set at $750,000.

Shoup was issued a $1 million bond and has a first court appearance set for Monday, Whisenant said. 

Buckles previously was convicted of threatening an officer in 2016. According to court documents, Buckles threatened to shoot District Court Judge Burford Cherry in front of a social worker at the Burke County courthouse.

Waldrop has a lengthy criminal history that dates back to 2010 and includes convictions of possession with intent to sell a schedule II controlled substance, breaking and entering, resisting an officer and possession of a firearm by a felon, according to the North Carolina Department of Public Safety website.

Chrissy Murphy is a staff writer and can be reached at cmurphy@morganton.com or at 828-432-8941. Follow @cmurphyMNH on Twitter.

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