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home : news : law enforcement May 16, 2021

5/1/2021 12:54:00 PM
Avery Pleads Guilty--Gets 20 Years
Special thanks to the Lincoln County Sheriff's Office for their news release which was the basis for the recent portions of this story.

Wayne Howard

A Lincoln County man who killed a woman in September 2019 pled guilty to second degree murder in Lincoln County Superior Court on Thursday (April 29th).

Steve Allen Avery, 61, entered the guilty plea in the death of Mary Walters Cook of Hamlet Street, Lincolnton. 

Ms. Cook had been reported missing on Wednesday Sep. 25th, 2019,  by family members who said they had not heard from her since Monday Sep. 23rd.  Ms. Cook's vehicle was located that Wednesday at Johnny's Mexican Restaurant west of Lincolnton.  Her body was found dumped off a bridge on Boy Scout Road.

As the investigation developed, detectives obtained a search warrant for Avery's residence on Drive Inn Road, not far from the restaurant.  During the search blood stains were found in the home. Avery then confessed to shooting Ms. Cook with a .22 caliber rifle and transporting her body to the area where she was found. He then allegedly drove her truck back to Johnny's Mexican Restaurant on Highway 150 and parked it behind the business.

Avery was first charged with first degree murder, but accepted a guilty plea to second degree murder.  Avery also made a guilty plea to possessing a weapon of mass destruction related to a pipe bomb found inside his home at the time of the investigation.

Superior Court Judge Todd Pomeroy sentenced Avery to a combined sentence of 23 years maximum and he will be held at Central Prison in Raleigh.  Lincoln County Sheriff’s Office Detective J. Link was the lead investigator on the case.

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