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Jury returns guilty verdict in Raleigh murder case

Posted August 15, 2013
Updated February 29, 2016

Samuel Gideon sits in a Wake County courtroom Aug. 5, 2013, the first day of his second-degree murder trial for the Jan. 15, 2012, death of Eleazar Brache Herrera.

— A Holly Springs man was convicted Thursday of killing a man he met during a chance encounter last year on a Raleigh roadside.

A Wake County jury took about two days to reach a verdict in the case of Samuel Gideon, 36, who was found guilty of voluntary manslaughter in the stabbing death of Eleazar Herrera. Gideon was charged with second-degree murder, but the jury was allowed to consider voluntary or involuntary manslaughter.

Gideon was sentenced to a minimum of 8.75 years in prison, with a maximum of 11.5 years, and credit for time served. He said he will appeal.

Investigators said Herrera, 20, was with his cousins on their way home the morning of Jan. 15, 2012, when they noticed a wrecked GMC Envoy and stopped to help. Police said Gideon arrived at the scene with another man, Christopher Todd Rochelle, there was some kind of argument and Herrera was stabbed.

In closing arguments, defense attorney Tommy Manning said Herrera was not the good Samaritan he has been portrayed to be. He said Herrera was drunk and angry when he confronted Gideon and Rochelle because he thought the pair had nearly hit his car.

But the state argued the slaying was not in self-defense. Prosecutor David Saacks said Gideon and Rochelle had weapons; Herrera did not.

Holly Springs man gets 8 years in prison for stabbing death Holly Springs man gets 8 years in prison for stabbing death

Gideon showed no emotion when the verdict was read. His reaction was a sharp contrast to Tuesday, when he was removed from the courtroom after yelling at Saacks during closing arguments. The enraged defendant rose out of his seat and pointed at Saacks, saying, “You want a conviction. I was there. I had a green coat on.”

He returned to court Wednesday in restraints, which were removed after he apologized to Superior Court Judge Orlando Hudson for his outburst.

Gideon and Rochelle were arrested more than six months after the stabbing. In court, Herrera's mother, Nury Brache, described the stress her family endured during that time.

"This affected our lives greatly for six months," she said through an interpreter. "We couldn't sleep wondering who killed my son."

Brache said she would run errands and wonder whether every person she saw was her son's killer.

"Every day, I kneel down asking God," she said.

Gideon requested to leave the courtroom during statements from Brache and Elias Herrera – Eleazar's older brother – that brought some jurors to tears. He returned for the sentencing.

Gideon's mother called to him as he was taken from the courtroom. "I love you. I love you, son," she said.

Gideon has a criminal record dating back to 1997. It includes convictions for possession of stolen goods, assault on a female and resisting a law enforcement officer.

Rochelle is also charged in the case. His trial has not begun.


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  • 812babgirl Aug 19, 2013

    Mikewolfpacker, 678 devilish, Sam was not addressing his mother! I was there, he was talking to a Herrera friend that was making comments. The jury got blinded side by the 2nd phases, that's why they were crying because they realized what they had done. As always people talking and was not there. Wait until you have to stand before a body of people fighting for your rights to defend yourself. Be careful who you judge, because it will come back at you! I witness two families that loved there loved one. The sentence was to much! Make sure you stay tune to trial when the cop killed a man just giving him the knife. Will this be self defense or murder? I forgot no chargers was filed. Keep watch and let's make a difference.

  • lec02572 Aug 19, 2013

    The jury did what was allowed by the evidence presented and the law as presented by the judge. The tears shead by some of the jury members were not for the defendant, but for the family of the victim as they wanted to do more, but the evidence would not allow them to convict of 2nd degree murder.

  • whatelseisnew Aug 16, 2013

    The sentence is too light.

  • 678devilish Aug 16, 2013

    looked over his shoulder at her and replied "you should have talked to a home trainer first".

    What an ugly way to talk to your mother. Oh well with the time he will be spending in prison, maybe he will learn respect.

  • 678devilish Aug 16, 2013

    Justice was served here.

  • mikewolfpacker Aug 16, 2013

    As Samuel Gideon was leaving the courtroom after receiving the sentence, his mother cried out "I love you son". Gideon looked over his shoulder at her and replied "you should have talked to a home trainer first". In other words, if you had raised me right, mom, this wouldn't be happening.

  • LastSon1981 Aug 16, 2013

    Actually they convicted on voluntary manslaughter, not second degree.


    Right, right

  • Bartmeister Aug 16, 2013

    They could only prove second degree some people get away with murder Django99


    Actually they convicted on voluntary manslaughter, not second degree.

  • LastSon1981 Aug 16, 2013

    8 years is all he gets for taking someone's life that was trying to help him. What a joke.


    They could only prove second degree some people get away with murder

  • this is fdup Aug 15, 2013

    I fail to see how the jury did not find him guilty of 2nd degree. I would give some thought to the self defense claim if he would have stayed around for the police and not waited to get caught.