Two charged in woman's murder

Cleavon Williams.jpg
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Cleavon Williams

April Smith.jpg

Staff Writer

Thursday, May 23, 2019

NASHVILLE — A Nash County relative of a Raleigh woman reported missing on Monday is charged with murdering her, while a second person is charged with being an accessory, the county’s top lawman said Wednesday.

Cleavon Williams, 44, of the 4200 block of Biltmore Lane southeast of Spring Hope, is charged with first-degree murder of Sarah Denise Patterson, 51, Sheriff Keith Stone said at a news conference.

Williams, who has an extensive prior criminal record, is jailed without bond in the Nash County Detention Center and is facing charges in connection with Patterson’s disappearance as well, Stone said.

Additionally, Stone said April Smith, 41, is charged with accessory after the fact of murder. A sheriff's spokesman said Smith, of the 7200 block of Shady Lane southwest of New Hope, was released on $25,000 secured bond.

Stone said Patterson’s body was found in a shallow grave off West Old Spring Hope Road, approximately a mile from Green Road and south of Spring Hope.

Stone said earlier, at approximately 4 a.m. on Wednesday, the Edgecombe County Sheriff’s Office received a phone call about a burned vehicle off Pleasant Road in the southwestern part of that county.

Stone said investigators approximately a few hours later confirmed the vehicle was Patterson’s.

As for Williams’ relation to Patterson, Stone said he believes Williams is a nephew.

Patterson was a nursing assistant in Wake County.

Stone said he does not have the motive for the slaying and noted he was not privy to all parts of the investigating process.

As for the question of the manner of Patterson’s death, Stone referred to the medical examiner’s report, which he noted is going to be forthcoming.

"My heart goes out to the family that anyone's life could be ended like this. It's very disturbing," Stone said. “And as many years I’ve been in law enforcement, to see this type of carnage, it’s heartbreaking,”

Stone was elected Nash County sheriff in 2014 and he had 30 prior years of experience as a state trooper.

Stone expressed appreciation to numerous agencies and officials, but he particularly noted the Wake County sheriff’s investigative team was of much value to his office.

He said they brought a quick closure to the case and said he believes an obviously dangerous man was brought into custody before he could go out and do anything like this again.

State Public Safety records show Williams is well-known to the court system.

Those records include a conviction in August 1996 for committing second-degree murder and first-degree kidnapping, both in Franklin County.

The records show he was sentenced to a minimum of 15 years and 10 months and a maximum of 19 years and nine months.

The records also show Williams was convicted in August 2013 for committing second-degree kidnapping in Nash County.

He also has been convicted for aiding and abetting an assault inflicting serious injury, assault on a female and communicating threats, all in Nash County.

The records also show he has been convicted for damage to property, larceny, possession of illegal drugs, resisting an officer and sexual battery, all in Nash County.

He also has been convicted of driving while impaired in Edgecombe County and for shoplifting in Johnston County.