By Jesse Wood
Sept. 17, 2012. After killing Deanna Elizabeth Schermerhorn three years ago in their Seven Devils home and fleeing to Mexico, Christopher Warren Meade pled guilty to second-degree murder last Tuesday.
He was sentenced from a minimum of 14 years in prison to a maximum of 17.5 years and was credited for serving 620 days in Watauga County Detention facility. His felony financial credit card theft charge was dismissed, and he is ordered to pay $11,034 in court costs, restitution and other fines.
The murder made headlines across the country and even put Seven Devils in the national spotlight when the case was featured on America’s Most Wanted in the weeks following Schermerhorn’s disappearance in November 2009. She was last seen on the evening of Nov. 7.
Her body was eventually found on Dec. 14, 2009, after Capt. Bobby Powell was on the back deck of the Schermerhorn and Meade’s residency and noticed animal prints on the deck and an area where an animal had apparently been digging. Where the digging had occurred was a belt buckle and human bones, according to court records.
A month before her body was found, Meade had dropped her unharmed son off at a family member’s house. Forensic child psychologists interviewed her four-year-old child at Mission’s Children’s Clinic in Asheville on Nov. 19, 2009 – a month before Schermerhorn was found.
According to documents in court records, “The minor child made statements about ‘his daddy’ (Chris Meade) using ‘sticky tape’ and wrapping his mother up in a blanket.” The child also made remarks about his father being ‘mean’ because he hit her and how he would never see his mom again.
A shovel, rake, drywall hammer and hatchet were seized by investigators and fit the cause of death, which was “blunt force trauma” to the head, according to court documents.
Some time after dropping the child off at a relative’s house, he fled Watauga County for Johnson County and made his way to Mexico.
On Dec. 28, 2010, Meade was located by Mexican authorities with assistance of U.S. Marshalls Service in Los Mochis, Mexico after contacting his mother Dodie Perry and has been in custody at Watauga County Detention facility since.
Presiding over the case last Tuesday was the Judge Gary Gavenus.
Upon the release of Meade, children and immediate family members of the victim are to be notified.