By Jesse Wood
Nov. 9, 2012. On Thursday morning, Neil Sargent was found guilty of first-degree murder and three other felonies for the death of Stephen Harrington, an ASU student and small-time coke dealer who was found partially charred in the trunk of a Subaru that was set on fire in the Sleepy Hollow community of Foscoe seven years ago.
For first-degree murder, Judge James U. Downs sentenced Sargent to life without parole. He was also sentenced to 80 months and 105 days for first-degree kidnapping, burning of personal property and robbery with a dangerous weapon.
This is the second time Sargent has been found guilty of these crimes and sentenced to life without parole. In 2008 Sargent was convicted as the instigator of Harrington’s death due to testimony by Kyle Triplett, who also played a role in the death of Harrington.
However the N.C. Court of Appeals and the N.C. Supreme Court ruled that the Watauga County Superior Court erred in Sargent’s original case by not allowing written testimony from Matthew Dalrymple, the third individual involved in Harrington’s death, that placed Triplett – not Sargent – as the instigator of the crimes.
Dalrymple’s written testimony was allowed in court this time, however, it wasn’t enough to sway the jurors. For more details on the conflicting testimony of the three individuals and events leading up to Harrington’s death, click here: https://www.hcpress.com/news/seven-years-later-instigator-of-asu-student-killed-in-foscoe-still-unknown-sargeants-retrial-to-answer-question.html
In 2007, Triplett was the first to be sentenced. He received a minimum of 40 years in prison without parole for his plea agreement. Sargent was initially sentenced to life in prison without parole in 2008.
Dalrymple was the last of the three to be sentenced. In December 2008, Dalrymple received a minimum of eight years to less than 11 years. He was also credited with the three years he was held at the Watauga County Detention Center.
All three were in their early 20s when these crimes were committed. Harrington was 19 years old.
According to court documents, Sargent has “given notice of appeal to N.C. Court of Appeals.”