3 accused with death of Denver woman appear in court Tuesday

by: Tina Terry Updated:

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LINCOLN COUNTY, N.C. - Three people are booked on accusations of hitting a woman with a car and leaving her to die.

Investigators told Eyewitness News that a murder victim met the three people charged in her death Thursday night.

The Tuesday morning appearances in the murder case of Sherry Tobeler were brief.

Each person charged in connection with the crime appeared before a judge using a video link from the jail.

Derek Williams, 25, is charged with second degree murder. His girlfriend, Alesha Werner and his mother, 50-year-old Patricia Ann Stroupe are charged with accessory after the fact.

Investigators said the four met at a convenience store last Thursday.

They went to a pool hall and eventually ended up along Highway 150 at Mack Ballard Road.

That is where investigators said there was an argument, and Tobeler got out of her truck and Williams ran her over.

They went to a pool hall and eventually ended up along highway 150 at Mack Ballard Road, officials said.

At last check all three remain in jail.

Williams is being held under a $500,000 secure , bond. Werner is being held under a $125,000 secure bond and Stroup is being held under a $75,000 bond.

All three are due back in court on Nov. 20.

Eyewitness News found Sherry Tobeler’s truck at the bottom of a pond and told investigators where it was Monday.

The victim’s family hopes they can receive answers about the crime.

Investigators say Sherry Tobeler met the three people who are now charged in her death on Halloween night.

Derek Williams, 25, is charged with second-degree murder. His girlfriend, Alesha Werner, and his mother, Patricia Ann Stroupe, 50, are charged with accessory after the fact.

Investigators say the four met at a convenience store last Thursday.

They went to a pool hall and eventually ended up along highway 150 at Mack Ballard Road, according to police.

Police say there was an argument, and Tobeler got out of her truck when Williams ran her over.

All three were taken into custody Monday night.

Tobeler died Monday, days after someone found her abandoned and severely injured in the middle of a Lincoln County road.

"I do apologize, I do apologize y'all," Williams told Eyewitness News.

Williams was interviewed Monday by Lincoln County investigators. They said they found Williams and his girlfriend Werner hiding out in the Days Inn hotel in Lincolnton.

Werner was also questioned by investigators.

She told Eyewitness News she didn't know anything about Tobeler's murder.

Eyewitness news spoke to Tobeler's family about the arrest.

" To take someone's life over nothing? I mean, I don't understand," saID Ron Malcolm, victim's brother.

Investigators said her truck was missing.

Channel 9 was with investigators as they pulled the evidence from a pond on Gladden Drive off Springs East Road.

Investigators pulled the 2001 Chevrolet Silverado 75 feet to shore with the assistance of Chopper 9.

IMAGES: Truck pulled from pond in case of Lincoln Co. woman's death

“(We) had been in contact with Channel 9 and they had their helicopter in the air and actually located the vehicle for us,” Carpenter said.

The truck was found three days after Tobeler, 54, was found injured in the middle of busy Highway 150 Friday morning.

The sheriff said the people involved were people Tobeler had just met.

Detectives said Tobeler and several other people had been to a pool hall in Maiden and a bar in Denver before arriving at the intersection of Highway 150 East and Mack Ballard Road.

Investigators said an argument occurred and Tobeler got out of her vehicle and called Catawba County 911.   The truck sped away, apparently running over Tobeler, who had fallen to the ground, investigators said.

“She was struck by this vehicle that was found in the pond, which is her vehicle, and the fact that the individuals involved didn't call for help, just went about their business to do away with the vehicle that was involved in it,” said Lincoln County Sheriff David Carpenter. “Very cold-hearted you might say, to do something like that.”

WATCH CHOPPER 9: Investigators pull truck from Lincoln Co. pond

Tobeler was rushed to the hospital.

On Monday, her family learned she was brain dead and they decided to take her off life support.

“(It's hard) losing someone that's so good to people. She's just so good to everyone, that's the hardest part, which is likely what cost her her life. She was doing someone a favor and was in the wrong place," said the victim’s brother, Charlie Malcolm.

Read our past coverage on this story here.