Home Crime RCSO: Thrift charged with murder after assault victim dies

RCSO: Thrift charged with murder after assault victim dies

ROCKINGHAM — A man accused in an assault last week that sent the victim to a trauma center is now facing a murder charge.

The Richmond County Sheriff’s Office announced Monday that 47-year-old Jason Gary Thrift, of Rockingham, has been charged with an open count of murder.

Thrift allegedly broke into a residence where his ex-wife was located on Wednesday, Aug. 2 and assaulted a man, who reportedly had to be taken to a trauma center.

Investigators say the victim, 46-year-old Matthew Damien Starling, died from his injuries.

Thrift is being held without bond on the murder charge.

He was initially held without bond when charged with one count each of assault inflicting serious bodily injury and breaking and entering to terrorize or injure, but Richmond County Jail records show he now has a $150,000 secured bond for those charges.

Online court records show Thrift was charged earlier this year with: one felony and one misdemeanor count of cruelty to animals; breaking and entering; injury to property to obtain non-ferrous metals; damaging computers.

Thrift also has three pending counts of driving while license revoked from 2022.

Records with the N.C. Department of Adult Correction show Thrift was convicted in November 2022 for possession of drug paraphernalia.

Thrift’s criminal history dates back to 1995 when he was convicted in Chatham County on three counts of breaking and entering and larceny and a count of felony larceny.


In addition to convictions on multiple counts of breaking and entering and larceny, Thrift has also been convicted of safecracking, discharging a firearm into an occupied property, robbery with a dangerous weapon, being a habitual felon and driving while impaired.

Prior convictions were in Richmond, Moore, Lee and Chatham counties.

All defendants facing criminal charges are presumed innocent until proven guilty in a court of law.

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