Local News

McNeill Sentenced to Death

Posted April 8, 1996

— April 9, 1996, 8 p.m., EDT

Related Audio:

  • Hear the death sentence read in court. Listen to anaufile.
  • Roberta McNeill (pictured below, left), mother of the convicted killer, commented on her reaction to the sentence. Listen to anaufile.
  • Shirley Myers (below, right) is the mother of victim Mike Truelove. Listen to her reaction in anaufile.
  • Louise Ray, (bottom, left) mother of victim John Ray, said she felt justice was done. Listen to anaufile.
  • Frank Peterson (bottom, right) was a juror. He says he changed his mind about the system during this trial. Listen to anaufile.Elmer Ray McNeill (pictured above, left) has been sentenced to death in connection with the 1993 deaths of two Food Lion grocery store employees.

    McNeill was convicted last week in Wake County Superior Court of murder, armed robbery and conspiracy to commit armed robbery. His brother, Robert, will be tried at a later date on similar charges for the same crime.

    Raleigh police discovered the bodies of Michael Truelove (left), 20, and John Ray (right), 27, at the store on the night of September 19, 1993. Each had been shot twice in the back of the head. The men were closing up the store for the night when they were confronted.

    The gun has never been found, nor have any witnesses been discovered.

    The charges and trial have split the McNeill family, with another brother, Michael, testifying about what he said was an incriminating phone call from Elmer Ray five months after the slayings. The McNeill parents are siding with the accused sons.

    Last Friday, McNeill's mother testified in the sentencing hearing, pleading for the jury to spare her son's life. She said after sentencing Tuesday that shemightbe able to forgive Michael McNeill when she is a very old woman, adding that if Elmer Ray dies, Michael is dead to her as well.

    Kris Ray (left), widow of John Ray told WRAL-TV 5's Jim Axelrod that she would be happy to take Michael McNeill into her family if his own doesn't want him. She said it was his testimony that brought justice to her husband's killer.

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