An Orange County judge ordered a Chapel Hill man held without bail Monday at his first court hearing on a first-degree murder charge.
Charles Anthony Rhames, 25, is accused of stabbing Walter Arthur Preston, 27, whose address was listed as the streets of Chapel Hill, in the chest with a knife. The assault happened around 11:45 p.m. Friday near 209 E. Franklin St., police reported. Preston died Saturday at UNC Hospitals.
Rhames was arrested Saturday in Carrboro and charged with first-degree murder. He is being held in the Orange County Jail without bail and has another court appearance scheduled for Monday.
Pastor Jacquelyn Pollock spoke to the courtroom on behalf of Rhames’ mother and brother, who live in Fayetteville. The brother sat with his arm around his weeping mother during the hearing.
Rhames is a member of her church in Silver Lake, Pollock said, and has been treated previously for a mental illness. The family thinks he has not been taking his medicine, she said. They would like to have him evaluated by a psychiatrist and put back on his medication while in jail, she said.
“He may say that he’s understanding, but he’s not really fully comprehending everything that’s going on,” Pollock said.
Pollock declined after the hearing to speak further about Rhames’ medical condition. He has been assigned two attorneys through the public defender’s office, typical for a capital murder case. If convicted of first-degree murder, Rhames could face the death penalty or life in prison without parole.
Police are asking anyone with information about the attack to call the Chapel Hill Police Department at 919-968-2760. Tips also can be made to Crime Stoppers at 919-942-7515. Calls to Crime Stoppers are confidential and anonymous, and the caller may be eligible for a cash reward up to $2,000 for information that leads to arrest.