Juror begs off deliberations in Granville murder trial
Posted July 28
Oxford, N.C. — The jury in a Granville County murder trial was sent home for the weekend early on Friday after one juror asked to be excused from deliberations altogether.
Eric 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 Campbell is convicted of first-degree murder, he could face the death penalty.
Jurors have deliberated for more than four hours since Thursday without reaching any verdicts.
The jury sent a note to Superior Court Judge Henry Hight on Friday morning, saying one juror wanted to be dismissed "due to being unable to properly evaluate the case."
"If she can’t evaluate the case and withdraws from deliberations, that means 11 jurors are deciding the case. It makes me uncomfortable both ways," defense attorney Amos Tyndall told Hight.
Prosecutors said they also wanted to avoid a mistrial, if possible.
Hight told all 12 jurors that he knows serving on a jury can be emotional and stressful, and he then sent them home around noon, telling them to think long and hard over the weekend about fulfilling their duty in hopes deliberations can resume Monday morning.
"I do not wish to put, intend to or place any undue pressure on any juror," the judge said.
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 has argued throughout the three-week trial that Edward Campbell 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.