Habitual Felon Status Enhances Sentence Length For Defendant

Samuel Wade Lawrence, 39, of Conover, will serve an active prison term of 11 to 15 years following conviction for multiple criminal offenses and admission of his status as a habitual felon during Catawba County Superior Court on Monday, January 8, 2024.

The Honorable Louis A. Trosch, Superior Court Judge from Mecklenburg County, imposed the terms of the plea arrangement after Lawrence entered a guilty plea for breaking/entering, breaking/entering with intent to terrorize and injury to real property, and possession of a stolen motor vehicle.

The defendant will serve his incarceration period in the custody of the North Carolina Division of Adult Corrections.

Lawrence’s sentence length was enhanced by his habitual felon status that included prior felony convictions for habitual larceny in Catawba County (February 2019), breaking/entering in Lincoln County (October 2009) and larceny from the person in Lincoln County (May 2004).

Lawrence and a co-defendant were captured on security camera footage breaking into a private residence in Hickory December 31, 2022, and into January 1, 2023. Items were taken from the residence along with the homeowner’s vehicle that was used to commit a larceny at a business and to sell several items stolen from the home at a pawn shop.

A search at Lawrence’s home on January 6, 2023, yielded goods taken from the business when the larceny was committed along with other items taken from the home.

The breaking/entering to terrorize and injury to real property occurred on April 3, 2023, when the defendant kicked in the door of a room at a local hotel, gained entry and struck a female victim he had a relationship with at the time. He made her leave the hotel with him.

Security footage at the hotel showed Lawrence kick in the door, charge and yell at the defendant before striking her multiple times. Law enforcement officers found him leading the victim back to her home some time later.

On October 15, 2022, officers initiated a traffic stop for a revoked registration on a vehicle that was driven by the defendant. He told officers he did not have a license, and a check of the vehicle’s registration showed that it had been entered as stolen.

The cases were investigated by the Catawba County Sheriff’s Office and Hickory Police Department. Assistant District Attorney Howard Wellons handled prosecution for the State.