2016 redemption story begets 2023 tragedy
By Matt Lamb Staff Writer,2023-09-22
ROCKINGHAM — In 2016, The Daily Journal wrote a redemption story. A Richmond County man with significant ties to the community — a Mason and a member of the local NAACP, a magistrate father, and a corrections officer mother.
It was a story of a violent rape accusation and subsequent dismissal, highlighting a young man with his sights set on advocating for those wrongfully accused and serving his community.
Three weeks ago, that man — Jeremy Asbury — died of a self-inflicted gunshot wound after barricading himself in his West Charlotte home following a warrant for his arrest for yet another alleged rape at gunpoint.
On July 11, 2015, Jeremy Asbury, after a night in Fayetteville with a friend, stopped at a gas station for a quick fill up at 6:30 a.m. Asbury said that he went inside to pay the attendant, and when he walked back outside, he found a woman rummaging through his burgundy Cadillac.
According to Asbury, he pushed the women out of his car and went on his way. Days later, Asbury was arrested — charged with assault with a deadly weapon, first-degree kidnapping, and first-degree rape.
The woman who Asbury allegedly pushed out of his vehicle informed law enforcement that she had been raped in a wooded area near downtown Fayetteville.
According to court documents, the victim, a homeless woman later identified on a surveillance camera outside the gas station, told police that she had been walking to Oak Run apartment complex when she got into Asbury’s vehicle for a ride.
“Instead of continuing to Oak Run, the suspect pulled into a wooded area, produced a silver handgun and held it to her head…then the suspect struck her in the head with the handgun,” said Detective J. Bennazi, of the Fayetteville Police Department, when applying for a search warrant.
The victim told police that Asbury put on a condom, raped her, and eventually said, “I wanted the money, give me the money.”
Asbury then allegedly threw the victim’s purse out of the vehicle and fled the scene.
Three days later, with the help of the gas station surveillance footage, the victim identified Asbury as the culprit.
With a search warrant in hand, police took DNA evidence including a cheek swab, blood sample, hair, and pubic hair from Asbury.
Asbury was jailed on an initial $175,000 secured bond that was then increased to $250,000.
On February 10, 2016, following 80 days in the Cumberland County Detention Center, Assistant District Attorney Kara S. Hodges dismissed all three charges against Asbury, citing, “Review of the file and unsuccessful attempts to contact prosecuting witness.”
Following his release, Asbury lamented on what he says was a false accusation, stating, “It’s a scary situation, but at the end of the day, it’s made me a better man,” said in the aforementioned Daily Journal article. “They have all these programs for rape victims, but they don’t have anything for guys wrongfully accused of these crimes.”
Asbury said he planned on being a motivational speaker for other victims of false accusations.
A criminal records review shows that following Asbury’s charges being dropped in the Cumberland County rape case, in 2017, in Mecklenburg County, he was charged with robbery with a dangerous weapon. Then in 2020, again in Cumberland County, Asbury was charged with possession of a firearm by a felon, assault on a female, assault with a deadly weapon, and assault by strangulation. Finally, in 2021, in Iredell County, Asbury was charged with communicating threats.
Three felony charges and three misdemeanors over the course of four years all resulted in a short jail stint and probation.
On August 29, 2023, around 10:00 p.m., a 47-year-old woman (who wishes to remain and anonymous and will be referred to as Amy Anderson) reported being forced into a vehicle at a gas station off Beatties Ford Rd. in Charlotte.
Anderson did not know Jeremy Asbury — she had never heard his name, and never seen his face. She was finishing her shift at the store when her horror-filled night began.
“He approached me, and I turned him down, he approached me trying to do sexual matters for money, and I told him no,” Anderson said.
While waiting for a ride home, Anderson recognized an elderly lady struggling with a walker in the rain. Anderson walked her to a residence across the street. As she was walking back across the street, Anderson says Asbury pulled his vehicle up to her.
“He pulled up in the middle of the street, stops his car, jumps out of the driver’s seat, and hit me off the bat,” Anderson said.
Anderson wasn’t going to go down without a fight.
“So, we started fighting, and I mean fighting, fighting…I got up and ran across the street back to my job parking lot, I’m thinking he didn’t see me,” she said.
Anderson continued, “He came up from the back with a gun, clicked it to my head, so I grabbed it, we tussling, tussling over the gun. Finally, he hit me in the back of the head with the gun.”
The final blow dazed Anderson. Hurt and scared, Asbury walked her to his passenger door and forced her into the car.
Anderson still had a lot of fight left in her.
“Once he gets me in the car, I hit the lock and try to come across the seat real quick and shut the door,” she recollected. “He hit the lock thing on his keys. He gets in the car and hit me again in the face with the gun.”
Asbury drove Anderson to a Dollar General store, parked in the back lot, and Anderson says Asbury raped her for the first time.
Anderson saw another opportunity to flee.
“At this point he had his pants around his legs. He did not take his pants off at that point. I jumped out of the car and started running. I’m beating on peoples doors saying ‘Help, help, help.’ I have no clothes on at this point, he gets out of the car again and hits me in the head again with his gun and puts me back in the car,” Anderson said.
“The last time he hit me — he hit me hard, blood pouring, blood all over his car.”
Asbury plugged an address into his GPS. Anderson’s mind raced. “Empty house — is he going to rape me and then kill me?” she thought.
They arrived at a house on Columbus Cir. in West Charlotte. “Can I put my clothes on?” Anderson asked. Anderson says Asbury responded, “Lust put your pants on and come on.”
Asbury led her into the house. On the way in, Anderson said she touched everything she could with her bloody handprints, insuring that investigating officers would be able to identify her DNA.
Asbury walked Anderson past a room decorated for a child — a little girl.
He took her to another bedroom, outfitted with nothing more than a mattress, ironing board, and a dresser. Anderson was a prisoner, and the bedroom would be her jail for the rest of the night.
“At this point its like 2:30-3:00 in the morning. He raped me from then till like a quarter to 5:00, that’s when he took my legs, interlocked them with his legs and made me put my arm around his waist. That’s where he slept — with a grip on me, and the gun laying beside him,” Anderson said.
The sun rose. Anderson could see light peaking through the blinds, and she needed to use the rest room. Asbury followed her, hovered over her as she went, and then escorted her back to the bedroom.
She told her assailant that she had to get home — her kids needed to catch the bus. “I told you I’m going to take you,” Asbury exclaimed.
He laid Anderson back down in the bed and she started to cry. “Lord have mercy Jesus,” she prayed. Asbury proceeded to rape Anderson for the last time.
“He told me that he loved me, that I was so pretty, he just kept saying that. ‘I want you to have my baby,’” Asbury told Anderson.
When he finished, Asbury sat up and told Anderson that she could take a shower. He retrieved a towel and a washcloth and helped her back to the bathroom.
“I didn’t take a shower because I wanted all the DNA. I had done taken my bloody handprint and put it in the bathroom window. I put the dove soap on the rag and rinsed it like I was washing,” Anderson said.
She got out and put her tattered pants back on.
“Are you hungry, you want a sandwich or something,” Asbury asked Anderson. She said no, so he went to the refrigerator and got her a bottle of Pedialyte.
“We started to walk out the door and he said, ‘Oh baby you can’t go out the door like that, you ain’t got no shoes on your feet, hold on,’” Anderson recalled. “He had a grey high top pair of booties…he bent down and put the shoes on my feet,” she said.
Anderson and Asbury walked out of the house and to his vehicle. He opened the passenger side door, and Anderson immediately noticed the passenger seat and passenger door panel were covered in her blood.
According to Anderson, Asbury drove Anderson back to the street where he initially accosted her. He dropped her off, recovered the arm of his glasses that had been broken off in the fray, and drove away.
Anderson called her sister and went straight to the hospital. Hospital staff conducted a rape kit, and she was put in contact with detectives. Following her treatment, they drove her to the house on Columbus Cir.
Detectives later called Anderson and asked her to recall where she had left DNA in the house.
Sexual assault charges were filed against Asbury, and a warrant was issued for his arrest.
On Tuesday, August 30, before 8 a.m., according to WSOC-TV, detectives said they attempted to contact Asbury and inform him that he was being sought for the alleged assault.
Asbury barricaded himself into the home on Columbus Cir, where he was surrounded by a SWAT team. According to officials, police officers attempted to negotiate with Asbury, contacting his family, and an outside organization to deescalate the standoff.
Sometime before 2:00 p.m., Asbury went live on Facebook to describe the situation.
“This is my last live, might be the last time y’all see me alive…police got my house surrounded. I wish I was playing right now but this is a very serious matter,” Asbury said.
Asbury told his followers that he was waiting for someone to come get his child and that, “I’m just ready to get this over with.”
Toward the end of the 4 minute long video, Asbury claimed that he was getting ready to surrender.
At 2:00 p.m., and following a six hour standoff, officers heard a gunshot and made entry into the home.
Police found the suspect with a self-inflicted gun shot wound and a gun nearby. Asbury was transported to the hospital where he succumbed to his injuries.
Around 2:10 p.m., Anderson said detectives contacted her.
“At 2:10 the detective called me and said, ‘Ms. Anderson, I’m just going to let you know, the arrest was unsuccessful, he shot and killed himself, and we wanted to let you know before the news aired it,’” Anderson said.
When asked what could have prevented her heinous attack, Anderson pointed to Asbury’s initial Fayetteville charges.
“Once he got off on that Fayetteville case, he thought it was alright to go on continuously doing it.”
“I don’t hate him,” Anderson said. “I forgive that boy for what he did to me, but I’ll never forget it. I blame his parents because instead of getting your son the help that he needed, seeing that he has a history of dealings with women, and the things that he does to women. No, y’all wanted to sweep it under the rug,” she said.
In the month since the attack, Anderson has suffered physically and mentally. The wounds are still there, and she has struggled psychologically.
She questioned herself, and wondered if she was to blame.
“Do I dress provocatively? Did I flaunt myself? You know. That’s just a question that I had to ask myself,” Anderson said.
Somehow, despite so much trauma, Anderson is doing her best to move on.
“The only thing I want is to be peaceful…. give it to God, I’ve done prayed about it — God’s going to handle it.”
Anderson wanted her story told in hopes that other sexual assault victims find their voice and come forward.
“I dont want to be seen, I just want to get my story out. Who’s to say who else he’s done this to that haven’t been strong enough to come forward.”
If you or someone you know has been a victim of sexual assault, The National Assault Hotline at 800-656-HOPE provides services, information, and options.