Relatives of accused killer round out defense case in Granville murder trial
Posted July 25
Oxford, N.C. — Family members on Tuesday defended the Texas man accused of robbing and killing a Granville County couple almost three years ago.
Eric Alexander Campbell, 24, of Alvin, Texas, is charged with first-degree murder, first-degree burglary, second-degree arson, robbery with a dangerous weapon, larceny of a motor vehicle, financial card theft, identity theft and two counts of cruelty to animals in the Dec. 31, 2014, deaths of Jerome Faulkner, 73, and his wife, Dora Faulkner, 62.
If convicted, he could face the death penalty.
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.
Eric Campbell insisted during testimony last week that his father killed the Faulkners and that he was outside their home in northern Granville County during much of the attack.
Three mental health experts have testified this week that Eric Campbell suffers from post-traumatic stress disorder after years of physical and emotional abuse by his father. They have said he couldn't have prevented the Faulkners' killings because he was incapable of standing up to his father and feared incurring his wrath if he tried.
On Tuesday, Eric Campbell's older brother, Nicholas Campbell, provided more details about the abuse in the household.
"We were required to do whatever our father told us to do," Nick Campbell said. "We did exactly what he said, and we were punished severely if we did not obey him."
The punishments could involve beatings or having objects thrown at them, he said.
"When my dad attacked us, we would have to pray to his mercy and let him finish," he said. "We supported each other through my dad's violence. We leaned on each other, and we kept our heads up."
"Have you ever seen Eric commit an act of violence against anyone?" defense attorney Amos Tyndall asked.
"No," Nick Campbell replied.
Edward Campbell's sister, Sherri Barnes, described her nephew Eric as sensitive and endearing, not someone capable of murder.
"Who people want to see him as is not who I've ever seen him as," Barnes told jurors.
After her testimony, the defense rested its case. Prosecutors then called Dr. Nicole Wolfe, a forensic psychiatrist at Central Regional Hospital in Butner, who conducted a court-ordered mental exam of Eric Campbell.
Wolfe disagreed with the PTSD findings of the defense experts, saying she found him to be more evasive and untruthful than suffering from a mental problem.