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Victims identified in triple murder

March 17, 2011

Police released the names Thursday of the four victims in a drug-fueled robbery and home invasion.

Catawba County Sheriff Coy Reid said Wade Sigmon, 49; Susan Kay Blevins, 51; and Connie Canipe Miller, 42; all of Conover, were shot to death early Tuesday morning on Emmanuel Church Road in the Oak Knoll Mobile Home park.

Joseph Burke, 38, was also shot during the robbery, and he was the only victim to survive the incident. Sheriff's deputies aren't releasing Burke's address for safety reasons.

Burke called 9-1-1 to report the shooting, which happened about 4:45 a.m. Tuesday. The man allegedly responsible for the triple murder, 32-year-old Everette Hewitt, is in custody after a 26-hour manhunt through to Wednesday.

Hewitt allegedly fled from Sigmon's mobile home park after shooting the four victims and taking Burke's ATM card.

"I gave (the shooter) my card to my bank," Burke told a Catawba County 9-1-1 officer during a call Tuesday to report the shooting.

Burke said he was shot in the back of the neck and was bleeding from his wound.

On Thursday, Catawba County Communications released the recording of Burke's 9-minute 9-1-1 call to an operator after he and three acquaintances were shot.

Burke doesn't sound panicked during the call, and he doesn't mention there are three other gunshot victims inside the house.

Reid said the victims and Hewitt were reportedly doing drugs together several hours before the shooting. Hewitt allegedly left the residence after hearing Burke had money in a bank account. He then returned to the mobile home, knocked on the door, demanded money and started shooting.

The 9-1-1 operator asks Burke if he knew the shooter, and Burke says, "No."

The cell phone reception appears to be bad during Burke's call, and the 9-1-1 operator has to repeat his questions to Burke several times.

Burke was apparently able to walk outside of the mobile home to talk with the operator and wait for police to arrive, because the phone reception improves as Burke tells the operator he is walking to meet police.

Throughout the duration of the call, Burke doesn't mention the three mortally wounded people inside the residence. The only mention of additional victims came from a sheriff's deputy responding to the crime scene.

The deputy can be heard in the background of the recording demanding, "How many people have been shot? How many people have been shot?"

Burke told officers that Hewitt left the scene of the crime. Hewitt ran from police for more than a day after the incident, and he was located in Claremont after a 100-officer manhunt throughout Catawba County.

Hewitt denied any wrongdoing Wednesday as he was brought into custody just hours after his capture. He couldn't explain why he ran from police if he is innocent of murder.

Hewitt is in Catawba County jail with no bond. His first court appearance is set for today.

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