Cerron Hooks was sentenced to death by the State of North Carolina for the murder of Michael Miller. According to court documents Cerron Hooks would get into an argument with Michael Miller that would turn fatal. Cerron Hooks would be arrested, convicted and sentenced to death
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The State’s evidence tended to show that on 5 September 1998 the victim invited friends to a pool party at the apartment complex where the victim resided. Shortly after the party started, defendant went to the pool area and joined the gathering. Defendant was drinking beer at the pool, although witnesses testified that he did not appear to be intoxicated. Around 9:30 that night, the victim invited the guests at the pool back to his apartment to continue the party.
Later that night, the victim’s roommate saw defendant playing outside the apartment with a .45-caliber “automatic” pistol equipped with a laser scope. A short time later defendant returned to the apartment and began looking for a shirt that he had taken off in the apartment earlier in the evening. The victim told defendant that he had not seen the shirt and that he would return it to a mutual friend should he find it later. Defendant then “got loud” and began searching the apartment for his shirt, eventually entering the victim’s closed bedroom. The victim told defendant that defendant “can’t disrespect his house” and asked defendant to leave. While defendant was walking towards the door to leave, he and the victim “had words” back and forth, culminating in defendant telling the victim just outside the front door, “you ain’t going to disrespect me in front of them bitches.”
As defendant was walking down the stairs outside the apartment, the victim followed defendant down to the ground level to make sure that he left. Defendant and the victim continued arguing face to face at the bottom of the stairs. Defendant stated that he was going to “f-k [the victim] up.” The victim began backing away, and defendant pulled a .38 caliber handgun from his pocket and pointed it at the victim’s face. The victim said, “Oh, you’re going to shoot me now”; and after a “silent moment,” defendant shot the victim four times.
The victim fell to the ground; and defendant began kicking him in the face and chest, pistol-whipping him, and taunting him by saying, “you thought I was playing, you thought I was playing.” Defendant then fled the scene. The victim remained conscious and in obvious extreme pain for at least fifteen minutes after the shooting while a neighbor administered aid. Officers with the Winston-Salem Police Department apprehended defendant on 8 September 1998. At the time, defendant, with a fully loaded nine-millimeter Luger in his hand, was crouching behind a retainer wall at the top of a stairwell.
The medical examiner who autopsied the victim’s body found four gunshot entry wounds: one in the face, which broke the victim’s jaw and went through his tongue; one in the abdomen, which traveled through the victim’s liver; one in the victim’s left arm, which traveled completely through the arm; and one in the upper back, fragments of which lodged in the victim’s neck and cheek. The victim died approximately twelve hours after the shooting as a result of the gunshot wounds.