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Duplin County man's gallows display draws criticism

Posted June 17, 2009
Updated June 18, 2009

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— A huge front-yard display near Faison is getting a lot of attention, and some say for the wrong reasons. Lacy Phipps and his son constructed a gallows and hung mannequins representing government officials.

“I don't want to hurt anybody, physically. I just want them to realize how corrupt the system is,” Phipps said.

Gallows display sparks outrage Gallows display sparks outrage

Phipps says he put up the display to bring attention to his problems with the government, such as land disputes with neighbors and the way the murder of another son, William Phipps, was handled.

“It's so surreal with the robes and names. You know, I think that crosses the line,” Duplin County District Attorney Dewey Hudson said.

Hudson is one of the officials represented in the display.

“I'm not going down over there. At night, if I had car trouble, I wouldn't go knock on their door,” Hudson said.

Hudson said his office and numerous other law enforcement agencies are looking into pressing charges against Phipps. The issue is balancing the First Amendment with the effect the display has, Hudson said.

“Obviously, whoever did that is trying to intimidate judges,” Hudson said.

Hudson said it is clear Phipps believes there is a conspiracy against his family.

“But I'm not ashamed of it because it's fact,” Phipps said.

William Phipps was shot and killed in 1995. The man charged with the crime was found not guilty.

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  • familyfour Jun 19, 2009

    From the article:"Hudson said it is clear Phipps believes there is a conspiracy against his family."

    "“But I'm not ashamed of it because it's fact,” Phipps said."

    If it were fact, if there had been wrong doing, he would have been able to do something about it. The only fact is that he is a paranoid lunatic who has pushed the entire county as far as it is going to be pushed....again.

    "William Phipps was shot and killed in 1995. The man charged with the crime was found not guilty."

    Have any of you ever stopped for one moment to ponder WHY?

    How derranged must one be to have lived with a set of gallows in your back yard with "people" hanging from it and decorating it for the last 18 years?

    Look a little deeper. It's not, nor has it ever been "just a public display" of disapproval.

  • familyfour Jun 19, 2009

    I also remember when the names read of town's people and farmers, not politicians.

    You all think he's just done this....like it was put up yesterday. This has been up for over 15 years, and has had more than politicians hanging from those neuses, and their names accompanying.

    It may look like a simple display to you all; a man exercising his freedoms, but for those who have lived and worked in the local area, we know the destruction behind it....what it has represented over the years.

    I wonder how you all would feel if you could speak to the people that have been targets over the years? Hudson even stated in the article that he wouldn't knock on their door in the middle of the night. And NOW it's getting attention? NOW?! It's a slap in the face to all those who have suffered.

    Anyone can make comments, but that doesn't mean you know what you are talking about.

    If you really want the truth, take a drive this weekend, socialize. You think we've told stories!

  • her3me24 Jun 19, 2009

    People are "hung in protest" all the time, this man just made an elaborate display. So what....me thinks that they protests too much...usually where there is anger and malice, there is also a bit of truth.

    I am from Wayne County and there is corrutption here too....that usually goes hand in hand with politics.

    Example?? Well a good, long-time friend of mine wanted to open a Starbucks, she was repeatedly denied because the City Council stated that we are a small town and did not need to detract from our smaller, family run shops....but when a long-time friend of a councilman applied for the permit 3 years later, it was approved without question.

    Corruption is everywhere, this man has every right to protest.

  • Whatever Geez Jun 19, 2009

    treeman, just go look somewhere else with your comments, if you had read what this little old man has done, you wouldn't feel that way.

    I sure do wish people would read other comments instead of coming up and just posting some off the wall opinion.

  • rogers922 Jun 18, 2009

    MARK II - what you are looking for can be found in section 14-16.6 of NC Code - Assault or Threat to a Court Officer - after you read that - assault in Oran's Dictionary of the Law 3rd ed defines assault as the following:" an intentional threat, show of force, or movement that could reasonably make a person feel in danger of physical attack or harmful physical contact. It can be a crime or a tort. See battery."

    According to the definition of assault, and the NC Code Statute Section 14-16.6 - this man has committed a crime and is a Class I felony. The judge and DA fall under the definition of court officer.

  • familyfour Jun 18, 2009

    I would love to read that book! I wonder if it has anything about himself and his son in it at all, or if he painted a picture of a man who's land was taken from him, harassed for years, and finally targeted for murder. You know....that just doesn't make sense, does it?

    I'm pointing out that you Duplin County folk are posting false comments on here.ncsu

    Just because you don't know about it or refuse to believe it does not make it false. Besides, I'm from Wayne County, so you can start knocking us, too. NCSU....I invite you down here anytime. I would gladly take you to as many people as you would like to talk to, from farm hands to fine outstanding businessmen, who will tell you time and again, nothing different than the "false comments" you have heard here today. Matter of fact, they have tons of stories I don't even know about. Choose to turn a blind eye if you wish, but don't claim it to be false, if you do not know otherwise.

  • treeman29 Jun 18, 2009

    I think it is great that he is not intimidated by the very ones he is criticizing. Its his right, his property, and his opinion all of which you are free to voice in the Great USA. Let them investigate, the poor DA who had power suddenly finds himself powerless in this game! Good for the old man! More should stand up like him.

  • familyfour Jun 18, 2009

    purple pat...sorry I offended you with my mis-spelling of ya'll...y'all...you all...all yous...mercy!

    I really can see why there is so much misconception. All the outsiders see is a man who lost his son and is angry about how the trial was handled, and is merely showing his disapproval. All they see is a man who "got off the hook". How could they possibly come to any other conclusion without the truth? Looks innocent enough, from afar.

  • purplepat777 Jun 18, 2009

    Wouldn't this whole story make an excellent book?? By the way, the correct way to write the contraction of "you all" is "y'all". The apostrophe goes before "all" since what you're leaving out is the "ou" in "you". I see it misspelled all the time and it's a pet peeve of mine. Sorry.

  • Whatever Geez Jun 18, 2009

    He was at Duplin General Hospital and he wanted to video tape everything because he was making a movie about it......CRAZY!

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