Local News

Nash DA to Seek Death for Church-Stabbing Suspect

Posted October 23, 2007

— Nash County District Attorney Howard Boney said Tuesday he plans to seek the death penalty against a man who police say confessed to stabbing two women, killing one, inside a Rocky Mount church last week.

Security was heightened at the Nash County Courthouse and the courtroom closed to the public as Tommy Lee Holiday, 30, made his first appearance on a first-degree murder charge in the death of Debbie Kornegay, 58, and an attempted murder charge in the stabbing of Eve Beasley, 60.

Holiday's hearing was held in a Superior Court room instead of the District Court room normally used for first court appearances. Only a handful of people, including attorneys and members of Kornegay's family were allowed inside.

Escorted by several deputies, Holiday briefly glanced at Kornegay's family before facing the judge. He answered "Yes," when asked if he understood the charges against him and also requested a court-appointed attorney to represent him.

Boney also asked that Holiday's attorneys be appointed from outside the district but did not say why. Kornegay's husband, Robert Kornegay, however, is an attorney in Nash County.

Kornegay's family declined to comment on Boney's decision, but a family spokesman, who asked that he not be identified, released a statement, the first from the family:

"Our family is deeply indebted to all first responders, especially to area law enforcement officers, with a special thanks to the Rocky Mount Police Department for their great work. The family remains overwhelmed by the outpouring of love from friends and the entire community."

Beasley's son, Billy Beasley, said his family was appreciative of the district attorney's decision, saying it was "the right decision."

"We're totally behind it, and we're all in favor of it," he said.

Kornegay, the director of Meals on Wheels, and Beasley, the assistant director, were preparing meals in the kitchen at Lakeside Baptist Church on Oct. 18 when, police said, Holiday attacked them.

Investigators said they believe Kornegay was trying to help Holiday find a shelter before he stabbed her multiple times. Beasley was taken to Pitt Memorial Hospital, where she was listed in critical condition Tuesday morning.

Billy Beasley said his mother underwent surgery again last night and is showing signs of improvement. Doctors are hoping for significant improvement in her condition within the next 10 days.

"I hope that my mom's condition improving will give everyone some hope," he said.

Court records show Holiday has been incarcerated five times since 1993, three of those prison terms resulting from revoked probation. He was released from Pasquotank Correctional Institution in Elizabeth City in August after serving an 11-month sentence for breaking and entering.

He has also been convicted on multiple counts of larceny, larceny of a firearm, drug possession, resisting an officer, common law robber, possessing stolen goods and carrying concealed weapons.

For security reasons, Holiday is being held in Raleigh's Central Prison without bond. A probable cause hearing is set for Nov. 6.

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  • Paragon Oct 24, 7:43 p.m.

    I'm not disputing that stabbing people is terrible, especially stabbing them and killing them, and you're right, there is no evidence that he is mentally ill, though I have not seen evidence to the contrary either. I just think it despicable that people can be so hateful without waiting for all sides of the story. As another poster pointed out, a confession does not necessarily mean the confessor is actually guilty, or if so, not necessarily responsible for their actions, and I think it would be wise to determine if this could be the case before passing any sentence.

    There is no such thing as evil; there are no absolutes. Good, bad, right, wrong, truth and lies all depend on the observer to judge them.

  • HARDWRKR Oct 24, 5:11 p.m.

    If this case does not deserve a DEATH PENALTY, then I have never heard of one. But, think about this: If he gets a Death Penalty, how many years will it take for it to happen, How many Lawyers will make money from appeals and all the other things they do to make money in that profession. A death penalty will never have any meaning until punishment is quick and certain after the crime.

  • eric52272 Oct 24, 3:39 p.m.

    i have at times been against the death penalty but i honestly can't think of any thing else to do with this trash.

  • Concerned Oct 24, 10:57 a.m.

    Nothing short of the death penalty should apply here. This animal should pay for what he did to these wonderful women. Anything less is truly a tragedy. May God have mercy on his soul.

  • Right4Me Oct 24, 9:35 a.m.

    Paragon- please do not make assumptions about "our" bible unless you plan to quote scripture accurately and in context. I to believe that sometimes people suffer from mental illness and are in a sense a victim however, there has been no evidence of this in this case thus far. Thus far this appears to be a crime of opportunity and disregard for human life.

  • skypilot-not Oct 24, 9:01 a.m.

    Let's see him smile for the camera now....

  • NCMOMof3 Oct 24, 7:36 a.m.

    it's heartwarming to see a story where so many posters agree. This was so vicious an act that the death penalty is the only course and it should be swift. For the poster that feels he should be given a second chance like the Lord gave us and he should be forgiven if asks for it, I agree. AFTER he receives the just consequences here on earth for his actions (the death penalty) let the Lord sort it out in the next life. God is a forgiving God but he is also a just God and can see into the innermost workings of our hearts. For the few that feel he may have a mental illness or disease, yes he may have. Death will fix that, too. That may sound harsh but even "sick" people know right from wrong and can recognize when someone is trying to help them. These 2 ladies were trying to help him. He had no right. None. No excuses. No forgiveness in this life from the legal system. And he's had his second chance. That's why he was out.

  • wufpak7483 Oct 23, 11:12 p.m.

    WRAL, I have read the terms of service concerning story comments, and have enjoyed the privilege of posting comments for the last several months,...but I say that to say this,...read Paragon's comments, read the stories you have presented on this horrific incident, and please post this comment,...Paragon, your viewpoint on this is idiotic!!!! Absolutely, incredibly, beyond reasonable comprehension,...just totally absurd!!!! Explanations, however far-fetched, are not excuses or reprieves from consequences for horrific behavior. It turns my stomach when some people, and I realize it is a small,yet loud sometime, minority, will defend someone regardless of their actions. There are some areas in life which are gray, but not as many as people would lead you to believe; and this incident has not gray, it is solidly, and vividly black and white, common sense, good and evil. Yuck! This man is a cold-blooded murderer.

  • dlentz2 Oct 23, 10:52 p.m.

    Yeah, he is unfortunate because this time his crime may cost his own death. He has a history of stealing from other and carrying weapons while on probation, etc. If he had wanted help he could have found it with the person he killed. This has nothing to do with being a Christian or a sinner. It's called being human and being outraged at a crime that cost a good person their life.

  • jotoho99 Oct 23, 8:34 p.m.

    here we go again, death pentaly this is a joke, how many are on death row waiting to day, the justic system with there hands tied because of people saying its not humane, well his justic should come in the form of a knife just as he used on them. the only way to stop these murders is to quit slaping them on the hand and prison sentences. hanging works well, electric chair, firing squad, the list goes on. some panty waist lawyer will get our hard earned dollars to take his case. he should have to do it for free, then really should he even have a lawyer, I don't think so.

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