JACKSONVILLE, N.C. – An Onslow County woman pleaded guilty late last week in connection with a man stabbed to death on the beach over two years ago.
21-year-old Bekka Shellhammer’s plea is for second-degree murder for aiding and abetting.
Authorities say the plan in the killing was to keep a man from testifying that he had purchased drugs from Shellhammer’s husband.
Deputies found 31-year-old Chris Stewart and 31-year-old Robert Shellhammer, Bekka’s husband, stabbed to death on Topsail Beach in July of 2013.
Prosecutors say the two of them killed each other, but Bekka — then age 19 — helped the crime happen by luring Stewart to the beach.
On Thursday, Bekka Shellhammer pleaded guilty to second degree murder in Onslow County Superior Court.
District Attorney Ernie Lee says Bekka Shellhammer and her husband tried to retaliate against Stewart for being a drug informant.
“Bekka Shellhammer was at the beach though and our theory was she aided and abetted,” explained Ernie Lee, DA. “Buddy Shellhammer was sending text messages to Chris Stewart attempting to get him to the beach.”
Lee says the defense argued that Bekka was under the influence of her husband, but he disagrees.
“I argue that she certainly made choices of her own,” said Lee. “No one made her send those text messages, no one made her make contact with Chris Stewart and no one made her go to the beach that night, because she made her own choices.”
Shellhammer will spend 20-25 years in prison. The District Attorney’s office says there has not been a decision made on which prison that Shellhammer will serve out her sentence.
— The Associated Press contributed to this report