A Forsyth County man who caused a six-hour standoff with authorities in 2011 pleaded guilty to several related charges on Wednesday.
Matthew Scott Whelchel, 30, will serve 10 years in prison for crimes committed during the Nov. 8, 2011, hostage situation and another pending charge for failure to register as a sex offender.
Whelchel will not receive parole during the 10-year sentence due to his status as a recidivist, or someone who has committed more than three felonies.
He pleaded guilty to one count each of family violence aggravated assault, family violence battery, obstruction of a law enforcement officer, possession of a firearm by a convicted felon and possession of methamphetamine.
Whelchel contended that the 17-year-old woman in the Burruss Mill Road home with him that day was not a hostage, and was free to leave at any time.
However, he did admit to punching the woman, his girlfriend at the time, and pointing a shotgun at her and asking “if she thought [he] was going to kill her,” Whelchel said in Forsyth County Superior Court.
Deputies showed up at 1:37 a.m. on a suicide check, he said, and he was afraid he was going to be arrested, which started the standoff.
Whelchel told the SWAT team that he had a sniper rifle and was going to start shooting.
Assistant District Attorney Sandra Partridge added that he told the negotiator that he could see the officers through the scope and that he would kill everyone, including himself and his girlfriend.
The incident came to an end when the SWAT team removed the front door and used a Taser to subdue Whelchel and arrest him.
Partridge said the case has taken time to resolve due to Whelchel’s initial evaluation showing he was not competent to stand trial.
He has since been treated for mental health issues.
Whelchel’s attorney, Jeff Cox, said without medication, Whelchel is “a completely different person.”
At the time of the standoff, Whelchel had not been taking his medication. Also, Whelchel said he had been awake for seven days on methamphetamine.
Shortly before the Nov. 2011 incident, Whelchel had witnessed his father being shot and killed, and suffered from post-traumatic stress disorder.
Though the police came to his home for a welfare check that day, Cox said Whelchel thought he would be arrested and panicked.
Whelchel actually had a 20-gauge shotgun with a birdshot, Cox said, but the authorities had no way of knowing that.
“He’s lucky to be here today,” Cox said. “It could have been a whole lot worse situation for the persons involved.”