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Rockingham County DA seeks death penalty against Greensboro man in 2016 crime spree that left 2 dead

WENTWORTH — For the first time since 1999, the Rockingham County District Attorney’s Office will prosecute a capital murder case, according to RockinghamNow.

Assistant District Attorney Stephanie Reese stated during a pre-trial conference on Tuesday in Rockingham County Superior Court that she intends to seek the death penalty against a man charged with killing two and injuring several others during an overnight crime spree in the summer of 2016.

Rontae Devore Hayes, 38, of 4704 Fewell Road in Greensboro, faces 18 felony charges in Rockingham County – including two counts of murder, two counts of attempted first-degree murder, two counts of first-degree kidnapping, three counts of assault with a deadly weapon with intent to kill inflicting serious injury, violent habitual felon, first-degree burglary and first-degree arson.

Currently, 142 convicted murders are on death row in the state of North Carolina, according to information tallied by the North Carolina Department of Public Safety.

At the start of 2007, a moratorium was placed on executions in the state, following legal challenges to execution procedure and whether or not it violates an individual’s constitutional protection against cruel and unusual punishment.

The last execution in the state took place on Aug. 18, 2006, when Samuel Flippen was executed via lethal injection, RockinghamNow reports.

Warrants state that Hayes is responsible for a house fire on Grooms Road in Rockingham County. Initially, Hayes was considered a person of interest, but was officially charged in that fire.

Inside the home, two men were found dead. Additionally, a woman was injured with a “serrated kitchen knife” and was found outside the home on the ground. Warrants state the woman was also sexually assaulted.

Prior to this, on the 100 block of Madison Street, warrants state Hayes stole a tan Chevrolet Impala and then hit the car owner with the front of the vehicle. Also, documents state he assaulted another individual with a beer bottle, “causing lacerations.” Hayes also shot a man in the leg who recovered from his injuries.

Hayes is also linked to a shooting that happened shortly after the Madison Street incident, this shooting happening on Knowles Road. Warrants state he shot a man who survived his injuries. Investigators also found that stolen Chevrolet Impala on fire nearby.

Hayes was also caught on camera trespassing at homes, wearing only his underwear.

Public records also detail Hayes’ prior criminal record, which law enforcement officers say includes convictions for shooting two students outside a high school, killing a man who was convicted of shooting Hayes’ father, and robbery with a dangerous weapon.