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Suspect arrested in murder of Onslow County business owner

By WCTI Staff
Published On: Apr 23 2014 11:19:27 AM CDT
Updated On: Apr 24 2014 07:19:48 PM CDT

A man accused of shooting and killing an Onslow County business owner made his first court appearance Thursday. Now, authorities are searching for theĀ  murder weapon.

ONSLOW COUNTY -

A man accused of shooting and killing an Onslow County business owner made his first court appearance Thursday. Now, authorities are searching for the murder weapon.

The Onslow County Sheriff's Office said detectives arrested 29-year-old William Zachary Parker, of Sneads Ferry, just before midnight Wednesday.

Parker has been charged with an open count of murder in the shooting death of 60-year-old Elmer Lee Hudler, who was found dead beside his bed at his home on Stone Creek Road, about 9 miles northeast of Holly Ridge, Monday afternoon.

Hudler was shot while lying in bed, said investigators.

During his first court appearance Thursday morning, Parker said he will be hiring his own attorney. His next court date is scheduled for May 15.

Parker is being held under no bond.

According to Hudler's death certificate, he died from a gunshot wound to the head. The murder weapon has not been recovered, but authorities were searching a pond near the intersection of Highway 17 and Old Folkstone Road Thursday afternoon.

Hudler was the owner of HRS Mechanical Contractors, a heating and air conditioning company in Sneads Ferry.

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Onslow County deputies said they found a business owner shot to death next to his bed near Holly Ridge.

According to the Onslow County Sheriff's Office, investigators were called about the homicide at 3:36 p.m. Monday.

Deputies said they later found 60-year-old Elmer Lee Hudler dead beside his bed at his home on Stone Creek Road, about 9 miles northeast of Holly Ridge. The man had been shot while lying in bed, according to investigators.

There is no word on a motive and at last check, no arrest had been made. Anyone with information is urged to call the Onslow County Sheriff's Office at 910-455-3113.

"Being next door, you want to know what's happening in your neighborhood, you know? It's sad that it happened," said neighbor Rebecca Slabach. "Deputies were asking, 'If we heard gunshots, any noises, any fighting, were there any cars that drove off really fast, if we knew the neighbors personally?'"

Investigators said there is no threat to the public.

"It's still sad that it happened, but if there was a motive to why the shooting happened, it puts me a little at ease," Slabach said.

Hudler was the owner of HRS Mechanical Contractors, a heating and air conditioning company in Sneads Ferry.