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This Week in History: Jury finds man not guilty of murder; Passerby helps prevent disaster; girls prepare for Young Miss titles

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The Wake Weekly is bringing back a modified version of an old recurring feature. Instead of featuring stories that happened this week throughout the years, we will re-explore stories that took place during a particular year. This week, we turn the clock back 26 years to the week of Aug. 2, 1993 ...

Not guilty verdict handed down in murder trial

The four-day murder trial of Michael Wade Dickerson ended with a not guilty verdict. Jurors in Franklin County Superior Court ruled that Dickerson, 21, did not have the intent to kill in the shooting death of Johnny Perry.

The shooting took place early in the morning on Dec. 5, 1992, The Wake Weekly reported. According to the report, events leading up the shooting began with a fight in which Dickerson was “badly beaten” and subsequent car chase. At one point, Dickerson and Thomas Beckham tracked down Perry’s car to check for a license plate number, but after tapping the vehicle Perry was in, it was Perry’s car that then initiated a chase.

The vehicle containing Perry pursued Dickerson and Beckham for 10 miles, Franklin County Sheriff’s Department Detective Nelson Ross said. Dickerson eventually drove to his home, went inside, and took out a rifle and shotgun. Perry followed him into the house and Dickerson fired the rifle. According to Ross, Dickerson said he fired into the air as a warning shot, but one bullet hit Perry.

Perry was taken to Franklin Regional Medical Center but later died. Dickerson was then charged with murder.

Dickerson’s defense attorney, Bill Williamson, said Dickerson did not have the intent to kill Perry and added, “(Perry) was intending to do further bodily harm. (Dickerson) was justified and acted appropriately.”

District Attorney David Waters said Dickerson “used deadly force” and argued that his actions were not appropriate.

Jurors were told by Superior Court Judge E. Lynn Johnson to consider four possible verdicts — guilty of second-degree murder, guilty of voluntary manslaughter, guilty of involuntary manslaughter or not guilty.

Both Waters and Williamson said the case rested on a sympathetic defense for Dickerson.

Passerby uses garden hose to keep fire from spreading

An electrical short started a fire near the entrance of Ernie Lee’s Oil Company and service center on Mitchell Mill Road, but a passing motorist’s quick thinking saved the Wake Crossroads business from burning down.

C.A. Caton of Garner was driving by the business around 10:30 p.m. when he saw flames flickering in the window. He dialed 911, then, with help from Mark Walker of Wake Crossroads, grabbed a garden hose and began spraying water through the damaged front window.

The Wake Weekly reported that because the water hose lacked about three inches of reaching the window, the water formed steam inside the building, helping to prevent the fire from spreading more than it already had. Firefighters from Rolesville were soon on-scene to combat the flames.

“That minute or two could mean the difference between us saving the building and not,” Rolesville Assistant Chief Gary Barnes said.

According to The Wake Weekly’s report, an estimated $15,000 to $20,000 worth of damage occurred at the business. Barnes added that temperatures inside the store reached 600 to 700 degrees.

“I’m glad it was no worse than it was,” Barnes said.

20 prepare to compete for Wake Forest-Rolesville Young Miss

Twenty young girls ranging in age from 5 to 17 years old geared up to compete in the race for the 1993 Wake Forest-Rolesville Young Miss crown.

The pageant was held in the Louisburg College Auditorium and contestants were set to compete in three categories — sportswear, talent and evening gown. Tickets for the pageant were $5 in advance and $6 at the door.

Competing for the Tiny Miss title were Caroline Victoria Wall, Anna Redding Smaltz, Brittany Davis Crews, Lauren Ashley Chapin and Ciarra Dalton Bunn.

In the race for the Little Miss crown were Jessica Renee Wall, Anna Marie Mitchell, Brandy Nicole Melton, Ashely Lynn Woodlief and Amanda Elizabeth Redd.

Junior Miss contestants were Courtney Shea Townsend, Shannon Nicole Moody, Kelly Lee Finch, Tabitha Anne Wagner, Angie Nicole West, Kristin Nicole Sandusky and Wendy Michelle Penatello.

The Teen Miss category featured Rhonda Michelle Crochet, Jamie Elizabeth Averette and Jennifer Anne Pitts.