An 18-year-old North Carolina man, charged with the stabbing death of another teen at an Myrtle Beach area campground last month, was denied bond Thursday (Sept. 15).
Circuit Court Judge Benjamin Culbertson denied bond for Adam Taylor Dwiggins of Shelby, N.C., on a murder charge in the fatal stabbing of 17-year-old Michael Dalton Fitch, also of Shelby. Dwiggins will remain at the J. Reuben Long Detention Center pending the outcome of the case against him, the Myrtle Beach Sun News reported.
Members of Fitch’s family sighed loudly with relief and some raised their arms in the air when Culbertson announced Dwiggins held without bond.
“Today was a good day,” Tracy Fitch, Michael Dalton Fitch’s mother, said after the hearing.
The family wore T-shirts with the teen’s photo on the front and the words “Wats Good Bro” above it. They turned the shirts, which were made by Dalton Fitch’s classmates and given to them, inside out during the court hearing because such displays are not allowed in the courtroom.
“Thank God,” said Dalton Fitch’s father, Bryan Fitch. “Someone like that doesn’t deserve a bond. Nothing against the family.”
Dalton Fitch died while being treated at Grand Strand Regional Medical Center about 90 minutes after he was stabbed in the chest and back on Aug. 20 at Ocean Lakes Family Campground, according to authorities. Witnesses told police an altercation between Dwiggins and a girl led to the stabbing.
Officers also charged Dwiggins’ 51-year-old mother, Kathy Ledford Dwiggins, with accessory after the fact of murder. She was released the following day on $10,000 bond.
The charge against Kathy Dwiggins stemmed from her attempt to “sterilize and clean the knife,” said Heather von Herrmann, assistant solicitor.
Kathy Dwiggins attended Thursday’s hearing, but declined to comment.
Dwiggins’ attorney, Fran Humphries, told Culbertson that Dwiggins lives with his mother and his parents are divorced. If released on bond, Humphries said Dwiggins would be on house arrest, be electronically monitored and only leave home for doctor visits, church and court-related appointments.
Dwiggins was a rising 10th-grader working on getting his GED before being arrested, and Humphries said his family had made arrangements for homebound instruction if he was released on bond.
“The family has done what they can so that the community, if a danger at all, is protected from Adam,” Humphries said.
Dwiggins answered a few questions from Culbertson about his education, work history and living arrangements.
But law enforcement in Shelby, N.C., told von Herrmann that they were concerned for his safety if he was released on bond, she said.
“Before this happened he was already a problem at the school,” von Herrmann said and described how Dwiggins had stabbed another student with a pencil.
Police found Fitch with a stab wound to his lower left side that went through his body, von Herrmann said.
Fitch saw Dwiggins hit a 12-year-old girl and Dwiggins tried to leave the area, so Fitch confronted him to stop Dwiggins until police arrived to address the incident, von Herrmann said.
“He got into an altercation with this young girl and subsequently hit her,” von Herrmann said. “They tried to get him and bring him back. . . when the victim caught up with [Dwiggins] he pulled a knife and stabbed him.”
According to an Horry County police report, a witness, who knows both teens, told police that Dwiggins threw a beer on a girl while they were passing each other on separate golf cars in the campground. Dwiggins, who was alone, hit the girl after she began yelling at him when the two stopped their carts, according to the report. Two other men, whose accounts of what happened were not listed in the incident report, approached the couple and tried to stop Dwiggins from hitting the girl about 8:45 p.m. Aug. 20.
One of the men took the golf cart keys from Dwiggins’ cart, so Dwiggins ran from the area, according to the report. The witness told police that he and Fitch saw what happened and ran after Dwiggins at that time.
The witness said Fitch was stabbed when they caught up with Dwiggins in front of Unit A6.
Another witness told police she was driving her golf cart through the campground when Dwiggins stopped her and asked for a ride, according to the report. The woman said Dwiggins told her he was involved in a fight and “that he just stabbed someone.” The woman drove him to his rental site, where police later found him with his mother.
Kathy Dwiggins gave officers permission to come inside the unit and talk with him about the incident, according to the report. When officers went inside, they found a 4-inch folding blade knife that had blood on it in the kitchen sink.
Officers took witness statements from several people in the area, who saw the incident.