Teen charged with murdering Roanoke Rapids Domino’s delivery driver

Local News

HALIFAX, N.C. (WNCN) — Halifax County Sheriff Wes Tripp announced Thursday that an 18-year-old had been arrested and charged with murdering a Domino’s Pizza delivery driver on Tuesday morning.

James Anthony Lee, Jr., 21, of Weldon, was found shot to death inside his vehicle around 1 a.m. Tuesday in the Branch Avenue area. He was shot three times.

UPDATE: 2nd person arrested in murder of Roanoke Rapids pizza driver

Tripp said Lee was delivering pizzas for his job at Domino’s when his manager realized they hadn’t heard from him in about an hour. 

The manager went to where Lee was last sent — Branch Avenue in Roanoke Rapids — and found Lee shot to death in his car around 1 a.m.

James, according to the sheriff, volunteered to make the delivery run.

“He was in the area to deliver pizza,” said Tripp.

The suspects shot Lee and got away with a pizza and a little bit of cash, according to Tripp.

Later on Tuesday, two suspects were identified in the case, Tripp said.

On Wednesday evening, Cortez Powell, 18, of Roanoke Rapids, was arrested in Roanoke Rapids and charged with killing Lee.

He is being held in the Halifax County Detention Center without bond.

“It’s hard to believe someone would kill another person for a pizza and pocket change,” said Andy King, operations director at Domino’s, on Thursday. “Our team members work hard to try to make an earnest living and something like this makes it tragic beyond words.”

Tripp said there’s a second suspect, but the sheriff’s office will not be releasing any information on the person at this time.

A $10,000 reward is being offered for anyone who can help find the suspect.

CBS 17 spoke with Lee’s mother and sister on Tuesday. They described him as a good kid and undeserving of his fate.

“He was a good kid. He never did anything wrong,” said Lee’s mother, Jill Coates. 

Coates saw her son before he went to work Monday. She said she could’ve never known that was the last time she’d see him. 

“Terrible. Terrible. He didn’t deserve it at all,” she said. 

“It felt like someone pulled my heart out of my chest,” said Lee’s sister, Michelle Caputo. 

CBS 17 found out in the past three months, three other pizza delivery drivers have been robbed in the same area. 

“We have reason to believe at this point they could be related and connected,” Tripp said. 

Lee moved to Weldon about a year ago and was a correctional officer in Virginia. His family said he recently lost that job and started working at Domino’s only a week ago. 

“He worked hard. He cared about everybody. He did extra for strangers,” said Caputo. 

The Maryland-native loved video games, dirt bikes, and helping others. 

“It’s just such a tragedy to happen in our community,” Tripp said. “This guy was 21 years old,  had a job, and was doing that job, and was killed. It’s very sad.”

Powell is scheduled to appear in Halifax County court on July 31.

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