Defense asks jurors for mercy while prosecutors say man should die for killing Granville couple
Posted September 12
Updated September 13
Oxford, N.C. — Whether a Texas man who robbed and killed a Granville County couple almost three years ago spends the rest of his natural life in prison or is put to death is in the hands of 12 jurors.
Eric Alexander Campbell, 24, of Alvin, Texas, was found guilty last month of two counts of first-degree murder, first-degree burglary, second-degree arson, robbery with a dangerous weapon and two counts of cruelty to animals in the Dec. 31, 2014, deaths of Jerome Faulkner, 73, and his wife, Dora Faulkner, 62.
"This is why we're here," Granville County Assistant District Attorney Allison Capps told the jury Tuesday while pointing to a photo of the Faulkners. "Don't forget that."
"The law allows you to be merciful. The law allows you to feel compassion," defense attorney William Durham said. "The state is asking you to act out of hatred and spite."
Jury deliberations will begin Wednesday morning. Campbell can be sentenced either to life in prison without parole or death.
Authorities say Campbell and his father, Edward Watson Campbell, stormed into the Faulkners' home in northern Granville County, robbed them, killed them and set fire to the house before fleeing in both the couple's Chevrolet Silverado and a stolen SUV.
Police in Lewisburg, W.Va., arrested the Campbells on Jan. 1, 2015, following a shootout, and investigators found the Faulkners' bodies under a mattress in the back of the pickup.
Edward Campbell killed himself two months later in Raleigh’s Central Prison, leaving his son to face trial alone in the case.
Eric Campbell's defense argued throughout three weeks of testimony that Edward Campbell had committed the crimes and that Eric Campbell suffers from post-traumatic stress disorder after years of physical and emotional abuse at the hands of his father, which left him incapable of standing up to his father and preventing the carnage in the Faulkners' home.
But prosecutors insisted that one person couldn't have inflicted all of the injuries the Faulkners suffered and that Eric Campbell made "conscious choices and deliberate decisions" to support his father before and after the killings.
"Despite all the vicious things Eric Campbell suffered at the hands of his father, it did not crush all of the good out of him," Durham said.
Campbell's attorneys presented a series of his family, friends and acquaintances on Monday and Tuesday morning who testified that he was a good brother, friend, employee and even prison inmate.
"Capital punishment is designed for the worst of the worst crimes done by the worst of the worst persons," defense attorney Amos Tyndall said. "These are horrible crimes, but they weren't committed, at least in this case, by the worst of the worst."
But Capps and District Attorney Mike Waters reminded jurors how the Faulkners were tortured before the Campbells ransacked the home, taking anything of value they could find, and then burned the house down.
"It is not acceptable for one human to treat another in the manner that they treated Jerome and Dora Faulkner," Capps said.
Campbell's troubled childhood shouldn't excuse his conduct, Waters said, urging jurors to hold him accountable for his actions.
"If you're going to weep for the defendant, weep for the Faulkners. Weep for their children," he said.