Former Pitt County DA receives prosecutor award
By Tyler Stocks
The Daily Reflector
Sunday, February 4, 2018
A veteran Greenville prosecutor and former Pitt County district attorney was awarded the prestigious Peter S. Gilchrist Award during The North Carolina Bar Association's 10th annual GilChrist/Smith Awards Dinner at the Embassy Suites in Cary, Thursday night.
W. Clark Everett, former district attorney of Pitt County, received the award, which is given to an outstanding prosecutor in North Carolina. Everett is the first person in the county to receive the award, which is named after former Mecklenburg County District Attorney Peter Gilchrist.
“There aren’t many awards given to prosecutors,” Everett said. “It’s a great honor and very humbling to have your peers select you.”
However, the occasion was bittersweet.
Earlier that afternoon, Everett was in Danville, Va., speaking at the funeral of his former colleague and friend, Rebecca Phillips, 31 who died suddenly last weekend.
“You’re speaking at a funeral and then you’re giving an acceptance speech. It’s an 180 degree turn,” Everett said.
According to Everett, Phillips was an assistant district attorney best known for prosecuting domestic violence cases. She worked in Pitt County for five years before becoming an assistant DA in Greensboro so that she could be closer to her family who live in Virginia.
“She was a colleague and very good friend,” Everett said. “Any time someone dies that young, it's certainly sad. Due to the fact that the awards ceremony and the funeral were on the same day, there were a lot of emotions.”
“(Her death was) such a surprise and such a shock. Everybody that knew her was very upset,” he said.
A moment of silence was held for Phillips at the awards ceremony.
Clark said receiving the Gilchrist award is an honor and something he never expected.
“It’s like gravy. The fact that someone thought enough to nominate me; I’m very flattered and honored by it,” he said.
Everett joined the Pitt County District Attorney’s office in 1980 and retired as the district attorney for District 3-A in 2013. He has since served as a temporary assistant district attorney for District Attorney Kimberly Robb.
He is a 1977 graduate of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and a 1980 graduate of the UNC School of Law.
Longtime Pitt County District Court Judge Joseph Blick, who retired in 2013, presented the Gilchrist Award.
Also during the awards ceremony, Michael A. Grace of Grace Tisdale & Clifton in Winston-Salem received the Smith Award, named after renowned defense attorney Wade Smith of Raleigh.
Grace has engaged in private practice and criminal defense for more than 30 years and also serves as an adjunct professor at Wake Forest University School of Law, from which he graduated in 1977. He earned his undergraduate degree from the University of North Carolina at Asheville in 1974.
He previously served as staff attorney for U.S. Reps. Lamar Grudger and Ike Andrews, and was appointed by President Carter to serve as Special Assistant to the Attorney General in the U.S. Department of Justice.
N.C. Supreme Court Chief Justice Mark Martin presented the Smith Award.
In keeping with the tradition of the Gilchrist/Smith Awards Dinner, many of the previous recipients also were recognized.