Jury selection begins in Raleigh man's stabbing death
Posted August 5, 2013
Updated August 14, 2013
Raleigh, N.C. — Twelve jurors and one alternate were chosen Monday in the murder trial of a man accused of fatally stabbing another man who had stopped to help a wrecked SUV on a northeast Raleigh road more than a year ago.
Attorneys, however, must still choose two more alternate jurors before opening statements in the case of Samuel Gideon, one of two men charged with second-degree murder in the Jan. 15, 2012, death of Eleazar Brache Herrera, 20.
Herrera was with his cousins on their way home the morning of the crime when they noticed the GMC Envoy crashed in the 2900 block of New Hope Road.
When they pulled over, police have said, there was some kind of argument and Herrera was stabbed.
"That's probably what I think about the most – how he felt at that moment – him losing his life," Herrera's brother, Manuel Herrera, said Monday.
Gideon and Christopher Todd Rochelle were arrested June 29, 2012, more than six months after the stabbing.
Manuel Herrera was among a group of about 40 to 50 people wearing burgundy in Herrera's memory to show up at the Wake County Justice Center for the start of Gideon's trial – so many that the court had to ask some to leave to make room for the jury pool.
He called the start of the trial the beginning of justice for his brother and said he hopes it will help him and other family and friends better understand why the crime happened.
"It's still very hard for us, because it's confusing. There's no reason," Manuel Herrera said. "To me, (Gideon) doesn't deserve to see a day of light. He should be in jail for the rest of his life."
Eleazar Herrera's childhood friend, Elba Rogers, was also among the sea of burgundy in court Monday.
"How do you kill an innocent person – a person that doesn't do drugs, isn't looking for trouble, isn't in gangs?" Rogers said. "To this day, I'm still in a sense of shock."
Police have never offered a motive for the crime or said why Gideon and Rochelle were at the wreck site when Eleazar Herrera and his cousins arrived around 5 a.m. that day.
The Envoy, investigators said early in the case, had been stolen during a home invasion a quarter-mile away, and the men who allegedly stole it had left the scene by the time Eleazar Herrera arrived.
"Basically, he stopped to help and ended up being at the wrong place at the wrong time," Manuel Herrera said.
Gideon's mother and sister, who declined to give their names, said Monday that Eleazar Herrera was not an innocent victim and that Gideon is not the horrible person they believe the media has portrayed him to be.
As the trial goes on, the details of that morning will become clear, they said, but they refused to elaborate.
Gideon's trial is expected to last several weeks. A trial date for Rochelle has not been set.