CUMBERLAND COUNTY — After five years and numerous delays, a former Highway Patrol Trooper is on trial for murder in Cumberland County.
Maurice Parker is accused of killing a Fayetteville auto repair shop owner in 1993. For the victim's family, the trial is the first step in what has been a long road to justice.
Monday morning the long-awaited trial got underway with pretrial motions. Jury selection began Monday afternoon. Even with five years passing since the crime, family members of the victim feel confident Parker will be convicted.
It is rare in a first degree murder case. The accused killer, Parker, is not in custody. He walked into court with his family to finally be tried for murder. The ex-trooper is charged with killing garage owner Vonnie Hall in 1993 but has remained free on bond since shortly after his arrest in 1996.
"I think it really is disgusting that anyone that can commit a murder and finally make it to court five years later," said Vonnie Hall's son, Billy Hall. "I don't think you can call that justice."
He feels confident the former state trooper killed his father.
Police say Parker, who was moonlighting at Hall's business, was involved in stealing car titles and other records from Hall's Motor Company then selling the cars. Since his arrest, Parker has denied any involvement. He would not speak to reporters Monday, but he told WRAL in 1993 that his life would never be the same.
"Even when the truth comes out, that will always have an effect about the way the person looks at you and thinks about you," Parker said.
The family is looking for closure, but it could be some time before they get it completely.
After this trial, there will be another one for the second suspect in this case, a former employee of Hall's, who is also charged with murder.