Mansfield released after grand jury fails to indict on murder charge

Samuel Mansfield.jpg

Samuel Frank Mansfield


By William F. West
Staff Writer

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

An Elizabeth City man accused of fatally shooting his wife in December has been released from jail after a Pasquotank County grand jury failed to indict him on first-degree murder charges. 

Samuel Frank Mansfield, 72, of the 100 block of Golf Club Drive, was released Tuesday from Albemarle District Jail after grand jurors declined to return a bill of indictment on the murder charge presented by prosecutors.

District Attorney Andrew Womble said in an email Wednesday his office plans to evaluate all of its options in the wake of the grand jury’s decision, including resubmitting a new indictment.

Attempts to obtain comment from Mansfield's defense attorney, H.P. Williams Jr., were unsuccessful Wednesday. Mansfield also couldn’t be reached Wednesday.

Mansfield, who up until Tuesday was being jailed without bond, is accused of shooting to death his wife, Phyllis Baccus Mansfield, also 73, at their home in the Fairway Estates subdivision the morning of Dec. 14.

According to court records, Mansfield told police his wife was suffering from dementia, and because of her condition he had been discussing with several agencies, including the Pasquotank Department of Social Services, the possibility of placing her in an assisted living facility.

Mansfield told police he had decided he didn’t want his wife having to live “like a caged animal” in an assisted living home.

Mansfield told police he shot his wife several times in the garage of their home on Golf Club Drive the morning of Dec. 14. Phyllis Mansfield's death certificate, filed with the Pasquotank Register of Deeds Office, indicates she died from gunshot wounds to her head and chest.

Had the grand jury handed down the indictment for first-degree murder, Mansfield either would have faced trial or had to seek a plea deal with prosecutors.