Local News

Stabbing death will be tried as capital murder case

Posted July 22, 2008
Updated September 5, 2008

— A Wake County judge ruled last week that there will be no pre-trial hearing to determine if a Raleigh man charged with first-degree murder is mentally retarded.

Joseph Sanderlin, 26, was supposed to go on trial in April for the Nov. 8, 2005, slaying of Lauren Michele Redman, who was stabbed and cut more than 20 times inside her Raleigh apartment.

Sanderlin's attorneys, Tommy Manning and Terry Alford, filed a motion in January for the hearing so that their client's mental capacity could be assessed to determine whether he should face the death penalty.

Under North Carolina General Statutes Sec. 15A-2005, a person with an IQ below 70 and issues of adaptive functioning prior to age 18 cannot face the death penalty.

Superior Court Judge Paul Gessner ruled there would be no hearing and set a new trial date for the week of Sept. 29.

If Sanderlin is convicted of first-degree murder, the issue of his mental capacity would come up during the sentencing phase of the trial.

Beside's Sanderlin's, there's only been one other case in Wake County in which mental retardation has been an in issue in a death penalty case – that of Antonio Davon Chance.

Chance, 31, is charged with first-degree murder in the death of a Wendell woman, Cynthia Moreland, in August 2006. His trial was set to begin in February A hearing on the mental retardation issue is set for Thursday.


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  • Gooseye Jul 23, 2008

    Also, I think it's pitiful that this girl's murder has received so little coverage, even when it first occurred 3 years ago. Just because she bought a little weed from these guys, and they killed her over a $20 dispute, doesn't mean that her story is ‘tainted’ and not worthy of the same coverage of let's say, Eve Carson or Nancy Cooper.

  • Gooseye Jul 23, 2008

    You know, there's a difference between being mentally retarded and just plain ignorant. I think this judge just saw through the defense attorney's smoke & mirror games. These animals raped and eviscerated this poor girl, leaving her to crawl out her front door and die on the pavement. Ignorant or not, for that they both deserve death.

  • didisaythat Jul 23, 2008

    I agree with the decision. It does not matter his mental state at this point. If convicted then during sentencing the mental issue can be brought up and if it is determined the suspect has a low mental capacity they can address it. I am all for the death penalty and agree that if found to be mentally ill or retarded should not be put to death. This does not mean we not prosecute those that are ill or retarded. We put them in a facility for the rest of their life so they can not harm another person.

  • familyfour Jul 22, 2008

    He killed her in 2005. I hate this for the family.

    Three years later, retarted or not, he should be doing serious time, if not on DR. He should NEVER be allowed to return to our "civilized" world. I use "civilized" cautiously...

  • dtwfrog82 Jul 22, 2008

    Did you read the initial report about what all he did to Lauren??? Of course he's crazy. He has to be to do this to another human being. I knew Lauren personally, and she, nor anyone else for that matter, deserves to be blungeoned as she was...Death Penalty suits him just fine.

  • mrr03 Jul 22, 2008

    I think the Judge's ruling will be overturned on Appeal..The defendant has a right to be examined by competent mental health experts in his defense..Maybe the Judge was in a hurry that day or was not thinking that his decision will be reviewed by the Appeals court..QUESTION: HOW can his Lawyers mount a competent defense if the Judge will not allow him to be examined..I do not agree with his accused crime ..only he should get a fair trial.

  • lilbit278 Jul 22, 2008

    He should get death, NO matter what.

  • Iquana Jul 22, 2008

    I think the girl must have called him retarded.