GREENSBORO, NC (WGHP) – A High Point man who twice has been convicted of second-degree murder when he was a teenager – once admitting he shot a woman when he was 15 years old – could be paroled from his life sentence in prison.
The North Carolina Post-Release Supervision and Parole Commission, which for months has been announcing it was releasing some inmates convicted of crimes that occurred before October 1994, wants to know whether it should grant parole to Jeffery Edgar Tucker, whose legal journey is not as simple as many who have been granted release.
Tucker, 51, is serving a second stint for second-degree murder in October 1990 in Randolph County after having been paroled from a 50-year term for a conviction on the same charge from July 1989 in Guilford County Superior Court.
North Carolina abolished parole in cases involving murder and rape as of Oct. 1, 1994, and the commission is charged with considering the parole of offenders who were sentenced under guidelines before that date.
The commission sometimes seeks public comment on whether that parole should be granted, and this case raises unusual questions.
Tucker was a 17-year-old resident of High Point in July 1989, when he was convicted of killing a High Point man in December 1988 and sentenced to 50 years in prison.
There were related convictions of 10 years for robbery in Davidson County from Nov. 30, 1988, and 1 year for larceny in Davidson County from the day before the murder, Dec. 20, 1988.
Tucker served his sentence on the second-degree murder charge until Jan. 27, 2012, when he was released. The robbery charge was served concurrently (and completed in 1994), and the larceny charge was listed as consecutive to the robbery charge, and he completed that in 1995.
But Tucker never got out of prison, and this is where the two homicides for which he has been sentenced cross paths.
‘He kept shooting’
While incarcerated, Tucker in 1990 pleaded guilty to second-degree murder in Randolph County, admitting that when he was 15 he shot and killed a woman while he and his sisters were trying to rob a gambling operation in Trinity, the News & Record in Greensboro reported.
The News & Record reported that Tucker and two older sisters, Pam Tucker Gallimore and Dawn Tucker Ellison, had gone to the Second Base gambling facility when he entered the facility carrying his father’s rife under a coat.
He opened fire with perhaps as many as 10 shots on Phyllis June Chapman, 37, who was selling sports betting tickets, court records stated, bullets striking her in the leg, hand and chest. Tucker then hit Chapman in the head with his gun when she collapsed behind the counter.
In a court document cited by the News & Record, Ellison wrote that “Jeff just kept shooting and shooting. He would not stop. I just stood there. I could not believe it. Jeff has said that shooting the woman did not bother him.”
There also was a related charge of armed robbery on that day in 1987, for which Jeffrey Tucker was given a 14-year sentence to be served consecutively with his life sentence.
The Department of Corrections database shows that Gallimore, now 59, was convicted in 1991 of second-degree murder and robbery but was given probation and a suspended sentence. It’s the only judgment on her record
Ellison, now 65, has a long criminal record that includes serving 4 years of a 10-year sentence for second-degree murder from that same crime. She most recently served about 1 year on a variety of charges related to a larceny in 2014 in Rowan County that occurred while she was on probation from a conviction on charges of larceny, shoplifting and resisting. She was released in February 2016.
Jeffrey Tucker also has one other conviction. On Nov. 2, 1998, he was found guilty in McDowell County of assault with a deadly weapon from Nov. 12, 1997, when he was incarcerated. He was sentenced to serve between 53 and 73 months, consecutive to the robbery charge.
Questions to the parole commission about the multiple cases against Tucker did not receive immediate answers.
The commission didn’t set a date for completing its investigation, but it said in a release that information gathered from talking to persons involved would be used in its decision. Once that decision is made, there would be an announcement within 10 days.
Tucker is being considered for parole under the commission’s Mutual Agreement Parole Program, a “scholastic and vocational program” that is a 3-way agreement among the commission, the Division of Prisons and the offender that requires an inmate to display a desire to improve education and training programs and a self-improvement process.
There is a 3-year walk-up to release that, the MAPP website states, requires the inmate:
- To be in medium or minimum custody.
- Not to be subject to a detainer or pending court action that could result in further confinement.
- To be infraction-free for a period of 90 days before being recommended.
Tucker, most recently housed at the Johnston Correctional Institution in Smithfield, has 29 infractions on his record, although none since 2017 and only one since 2005. Almost all of them since 2000 have been for possession of banned substances and disobeying an order. He did have one weapon charge in 2002.
The commission is required to review all offenders eligible for parole on an annual basis. If you have questions, you can call (919) 716–3010.