A convicted felon with a long arrest record will spend the rest of his life in prison without the possibility of parole. Bobby Leshawn Byrd of Cleveland Road, Smithfield was convicted by a Johnston County jury of first-degree burglary, first-degree kidnapping, and robbery with a firearm. Byrd was also found guilty of being a violent habitual felon. As a result, the 43 year-old man was sentenced to life behind bars.
Superior Court Judge Rebecca Holt presided over the trial and the State was represented by Assistant District Attorney (ADA) Keith Gordon.
In the early morning hours of September 13, 2018, a resident on Pine Level-Micro Road, Selma report someone burst into their home and discharged a gun. The suspects bound the victim, stole cash, an iPhone, and clothing before fleeing.
Johnston County sheriff’s detective Randy Ackley investigated the home invasion with the assistance from the Smithfield Police Department, North Carolina State Bureau of Investigation, FBI Cellular Analysis Survey Team (CAST), and Investigator Rick Hoffman from the Johnston County District Attorney’s Office.
The investigation revealed that Byrd, along with at least one other individual, broke into the victim’s home while he was sleeping. The homeowner was assaulted with the firearm and tied up while his house was ransacked.
On October 14, 2021, after the jury unanimously found Byrd guilty of the charges, the Johnston County District Attorney’s Office introduced evidence that Byrd was a violent habitual felon. A violent habitual felon is a person who commits a violent felony after being previously convicted of two violent felonies.
Byrd was convicted in 1997 of discharging a firearm in to occupied property and conspiracy to commit armed robbery in 2005. Both convictions occurred in Johnston County. Under North Carolina law, life without parole is the mandatory sentence for violent habitual felons.
Additionally, in February 2005, Byrd was arrested for the September 2004 stabbing and robbery of a 48 year-old man in the 301 Mobile Home Park in Smithfield. In Jan. 2005, Byrd beat a 39 year-old man in Massengill’s Mobile Home Park on Highway 70 near Clayton. The next day, accompanied by a 19 year-old suspect, they robbed two men and a woman at gunpoint after the victim’s car had broken down along a dark stretch of Packing Plant Road.
In August 2012, Byrd was sentenced to serve a year in prison for a September 2011 home invasion and robbery on Brogden Road. The victim said they were robbed of their money and a cell phone. One victim said he was struck with a handgun.
ADA Gordon said he was pleased with the outcome and thanked the jury for its service and careful consideration of the evidence.
“We are grateful that justice was served in this case,” Mr. Gordon said. “We thank the members of the Johnston County Sheriff’s Office, the Smithfield Police Department, the SBI, the FBI CAST team, and Investigator Hoffman for their hard work and commitment to bringing closure for the victim of this violent crime. The District Attorney’s Office is committed to aggressively prosecuting violent offenders and recidivists.”