LAURINBURG — Few new details have emerged in the Tuesday cellhouse death of Scott Sica, the man convicted in 2014 of the 1996 shooting death of Jonesville Police Sgt. Greg Martin.
Sica’s death, while being called a suicide by North Carolina Department of Public Safety officials, is being investigated by the Scotland County Sheriff’s Office since the death occurred at the Scotland Correctional Institution.
According to a brief written statement released late Tuesday by the Department, Sica “was found unresponsive in his cell Tuesday morning,” and “Prison medical staff and paramedics were unable to revive Sica and he was later declared dead.”
Sica, 40, was housed in a single cell. Autopsy results are expected to be released in a few weeks. Officials would not divulge additional information regarding his death nor the condition in which he was found. Department officials said they do not release information on whether any given inmate is on suicide watch, according to Keith Acree with the department’s communications office.
“If suicide precautions are implemented, they are at the direction of the supervising mental health clinician, who sets the conditions based on the specific needs and circumstances of the individual,” explained Acree. “They might involve housing in a cell that is monitored by a camera, frequent observation by staff and having limited items in the cell with which one might harm themselves.”
Jonesville Police Chief Roger Reece said the department was not commenting at this time on Sica’s death, and referred any questions to the Scotland County Sheriff’s Office. Capt. Mitch Johnson with Scotland Sheriff’s Office said he didn’t have any further details on the case, since it is still an open investigation. He hoped to be able to release more details in the near future.
In March of 2014, 18 years after Martin’s death, Sica pleaded guilty to first-degree murder and attempted robbery with a dangerous weapon in a plea deal under which he avoided the death penalty.
Martin was killed on Oct. 5, 1996, after pulling over a red Dodge pickup truck on Interstate 77 just outside of Jonesville.
Along with Sica, two other men, Marc Peterson Oldroyd and Brian Eugene Whittaker, were charged in the case.
During the plea hearing in 2014, Jonesville PD Detective Ron Perry, formerly of the State Bureau of Investigation, testified about the details of the 18-year-long investigation that concluded with the arrests of Sica, Oldroyd and Whittaker.
His testimony detailed the story of the three Florida men who robbed a bank and a Home Depot in Florida and then set out across the country, quickly running through their stolen cash by purchasing dirt bikes and a utility trailer. When the money ran out, the three men headed to North Carolina where a family member of Oldroyd’s had offered them a free place to stay. Still low on funds, another robbery was planned and that was what brought the trio to Jonesville on Oct. 5, 1996, and ended with Martin’s murder.
According to police and court records, Martin called for assistance at 2:43 a.m. after pulling over the truck. Five minutes later N.C. Highway Patrolman E. Vann Tate arrived on the scene and found Martin lying on the ground, suffering from gunshot wounds to the head.
Testimony at the trial indicated that Sica fired the gun nine times — with five bullets striking Martin in the head and a sixth grazing him.
Police were left with few leads on the case and it wasn’t until 2012 when a relative of Oldroyd, contacted the FBI after she saw the case profiled on the television show America’s Most Wanted. That tip tied in with work done by police authorities and led to the arrest of the three men.
In June 0f 2014, Oldroyd was sentenced to 14-17 years in prison, while Whittaker was sentence to 10-12 years.
Sica, who was 21 at the time of the shooting, received a life sentence without the possibility of parole.