JEFFERSON-Through an arrangement with the district attorney’s office, a Clifton man pleaded guilty this week to a lesser charge of involuntary manslaughter following a April 2015 shooting that left his neighbor in serious condition.
Samuel Joe Roark, 31, was originally charged with attempted first degree murder after shooting 77-year-old Viola Turnmire. His defense accepted a plea of reduced charges in hopes of receiving a lighter sentence.
Roark was sentenced to roughly 20 years in the North Carolina Department Corrections Monday afternoon in Ashe County Superior Court.
His conviction stems from an incident that took place in early April 2015 in the northwest portion of the county.
Ashe County Sheriff’s Deputies were dispatched to a home in the Clifton community shorty before midnight Saturday, April 14, 2015 after receiving a life line call-in.
According to information provided by the ACSO, Turnmire, called 911 and reported that she had been shot, causing deputies to rush out to her residence located on Jones Cemetery Road in the Clifton community.
When deputies arrived on the scene, they discovered Turnmire suffering from a gunshot wound to the left chest and abdomen area. She had been shot through the rear door of her residence.
Turnmire was later transported to Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center.
Roark was charged with the crime the following morning.
In addition, he was charged with several related crimes in the shooting.
As part of a deal with the DA, Roark pleaded guilty to several of those charges, and the state dismissed Roark’s charge of first degree burglary.
He received an active term of 38 to 58 months active in the NCDOC for attempted voluntary manslaughter and 41 to 62 months for assault with a deadly weapon inflicting serious injury.
Additionally, Roark was sentenced to 120 to 156 months for discharging a weapon into an occupied property causing serious bodily injury.
In a separate charge, he was given another sentence of 41 to 62 months for discharging a weapon into an occupied building without causing serious bodily injury.
All of these sentences will run back-to-back, according to the Ashe County Clerk of Court’s Office.