Local News

DA seeks death penalty in Rocky Mount stabbings

Posted January 29, 2008
Updated October 9, 2008

— Nash County Assistant District Attorney Keith Werner formally announced Tuesday that prosecutors plan to seek the death penalty against a man who police say confessed to stabbing two women, killing one, inside a Rocky Mount church.

Tommy Lee Holiday, 30, was charged with first-degree murder in the death of Debbie Kornegay, 58, and attempted murder in the stabbing of Eve Beasley, 60.

Werner cited several aggravating factors, making it a capital case, but declined to elaborate.

Superior Court Judge Quentin Sumner told attorneys Tuesday to start filing any pre-trial motions immediately.

“I wish to have those motions disposed of as quickly as possible, so this matter might proceed for a trial as quickly as possible,” Sumner said.

Sumner also appointed Holiday's attorneys to represent him on two new indictments for robbery with a dangerous weapon.

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 spent seven weeks recovering at Pitt Memorial Hospital from 10 stab wounds and was later allowed to go home

Kornegay's husband sat in the front row during Tuesday's hearing, but didn't want to speak with reporters.

Beasley's son said his mother continues to make great improvements in her physical recovery. He also said the family was happy to see the judge pressing for a speedy trial, and that they support the state's decision to seek the death penalty.


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  • doubletrouble Jan 29, 2008

    I couldn't agree with you more Garden Guy! I have yet to see anyone who stands in front of the prison, with candles lit during the execution phase--to offer this type of person to live in their home, around their family- and provide for them. Even offer them a tax break, to allow this to happen. Bet not 1 steps up to the plate.

  • Garden Guy Jan 29, 2008

    This man can be rehabilitated and made a useful, productive member of our society. When released from his prison, the folks who aren't in favor of the death penalty should give him a house in their neigborhood. The potluck dinners should be quite interesting.

  • BIGCHEESECAMATO Jan 29, 2008

    I had Keith Werner in a college law class and that man is one tough person. He treated the class like a court room and this was back in the early 90's.

    Watch out man, enjoy your jail food

  • whatusay Jan 29, 2008

    Knowing how Rocky Mount handles crime he will probably be given parole.

  • Tired Of Excuses Jan 29, 2008

    What I'm beginning to see is the mental retardation being used as an excuse to keep someone who's killed someone from receiving the death penalty. If it's such a problem then lets test babies in the 2nd trimester, before 20 weeks and if they have the dna eliminate them before they become adults and kill people. Yeah, pretty ridiculous right? So is using it as an excuse to keep from getting one's just punishment.

  • bosoxbaby Jan 29, 2008

    Thank you for the information Smorgas_Of_Borg. No, I was not aware of what the death certificate said in cases inmates were executed by the state.

    Thanks, also, to blindjustice for the backing of my point with the Webster’s definitions.

    My point,Smorgas_Of_Borg, was that murder, my perception of the various definitions out there, contains/requires malice. Punishment in the interest of justice that results in the death of the offender isn't with malice (since we do it so humanly and consider their feelings/pain and such) and therefore shouldn't be considered murder.

    Again, this is my perception of the definition. You are, by all means, entitled to your own perception of the definition.

  • TruthBKnown Banned Again02 Jan 29, 2008

    If he has such a low IQ, he'll have no idea he's about to die. Good 'nuff!

  • Sidekick Jan 29, 2008

    ANYONE commiting such an in-human act should be punished by death. It should occur the day after his trial is over.

  • blindjustice07 Jan 29, 2008

    Definition... Homicide: The killing of one human being by another. (Websters Dictionary of Law) See the word "Murder" in there? Nope. Now lets see Murder.. Murder: the crime of unlawfully and unjustifiably killing another under circumstances defined by statute... Now, that looks remarkably different to me. Myself, I live right here in the Rocky Mount area and I say, he deserves the penalty. However, due to all of the "bleeding hearts" out there trying to find more ways for lawyers to make money... even if he gets it, it will never happen. Thats why the crime rate is so much higher in the US than in other nations. Criminals have nothing to fear here.

  • Smorgas_Of_Borg Jan 29, 2008

    Since this has not gone to trial yet, I fully expect a 'life without parole' deal in exchange for a guilty plea. The courts know that a death penalty case can be very long and exceptionally expensive.

    One other comment for bosoxbaby. You said, "...and with that the murderer is not "murdered" by the state but rather receives punishment.." Did you know that on the certified death certificate for every executed inmate in every state that makes use of the death penalty, the 'cause of death' is listed as "Homicide"?