NC appeals court orders new trial in murder case
Posted October 15, 2013
RALEIGH, N.C. — The North Carolina Court of Appeals has ordered a new trial for a man convicted of killing four people in Columbus County because the man's defense attorney should have been able to dismiss a juror after the trial began.
The three-judge panel ruled unanimously Tuesday in favor of Danny Lamont Thomas, who is serving life in prison without parole for the deaths of three people in a home and fourth during a robbery in 2005.
The opinion says a juror in Thomas' trial told a court official she knew a state's witness from high school. The trial judge asked the juror questions but later denied a defense request to excuse the juror.
The appeals court ruled Thomas had preserved his right to use a pre-trial juror challenge to dismiss her.
Thomas, who is in Central Prison in Raleigh, also was convicted of killing Joseph Ralph in Durham on July 16, 2005.