Local News

Wayne County Man Wants Stand-By Attorneys To Help With Murder Trial

Posted June 1, 2005

— The trial of a man accused of murdering a 5-year-old girl took another turn on Wednesday.

Eric Lane is charged with first-degree murder, first-degree kidnapping and a first-degree sex offense in the 2002 death of Precious Whitfield.

Lane asked the judge to consider allowing him to hire two stand-by attorneys -- Glenn Barfield and Richard McNeil -- to represent him during the trial. Lane had fired his previous attorneys last fall and had represented himself.

Lane told the judge that he only wanted to use the attorneys if it will not delay the trial in any way. The judge approved Lane's request, provided both attorneys pick up from where the trial is at now.

The victim's grandfather, Rev. John Whitfield, said he and his wife are anxious for the trial to get started so the truth will come out. They said they want justice, but not the death penalty.

"I would have him locked in his cell for the rest of his life looking at pictures of my granddaughter," Whitfield said.

On Tuesday, the judge granted Lane's motion to start over again with jury selection. Lane raised an objection Tuesday afternoon over how the names of the jurors were being called.

Lane argued that they were being called in a specific, pre-determined order, when they were supposed to be called in random order. He requested that the 12 jurors that had already been chosen be dismissed and that jury selection start again.

The judge and District Attorney will not discuss Lane's case, because they do not want to risk any more problems. They expect to have about 200 potential jurors when jury selection is scheduled to begin on Monday.

Lane's original trial was delayed several times for mental evaluations, and juror misconduct led to a mistrial last year.


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