Friday, 25 June 2021 15:47

Helton takes plea in 2016 Rockingham homicide

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ROCKINGHAM — A man on trial for a 2016 homicide took a last-minute plea deal on Friday.


According to court documents, 53-year-old Rufus Alexander Helton agreed to plead guilty to voluntary manslaughter in the shooting death of Joe Braddock.

The jury had not come back from deliberating at the end of the three-week trial when Helton agreed to the deal.

The incident happened early on a Sunday morning in February of 2016 on U.S. 74 Business, near the entrance to West Rockingham Elementary School.

This was the second time Helton was on trial after a jury was unable to reach a unanimous verdict in 2019.

(Disclosure: RO Managing Editor William R. Toler was called to testify as a witness in the first trial.)

Helton had been indicted on a charge of first-degree murder.

Documents show Helton was sentenced to a term of 64-89 months in prison. 

He was booked into the Richmond County Jail at 3:24 p.m., records show.