Local News

Death penalty sought in Roanoke Rapids double homicide

Posted July 27, 2010

— Prosecutors said Tuesday that they plan to seek the death penalty against a Roanoke Rapids man who is charged with fatally stabbing a mother and daughter two months ago.

Tony Maurice Gorham, 28, of 325 U.S. Highway 158, is charged with two counts of first-degree murder and two counts of robbery with a dangerous weapon in the May 7 slayings. He is being held in the Halifax County jail without bond.

Gorham told investigators that he robbed Maxine McCrary, 92, and Nancy Burgess, 65, of $200 in McCrary's home and then stabbed them with a kitchen knife, according to court documents.

Tony Gorham in court Death penalty sought in double homicide

He was McCrary's neighbor. Burgess lived in Durham, where she worked as the budget secretary for Carrington Middle School.

Halifax County District Attorney Melissa Pelfrey declined to comment on her decision to seek the death penalty, other than to note that she consulted with the family of the victims.

James McCrary, who lives in Suffolk, Va., said he supports the death penalty, but he declined to comment on Pelfrey's decision to seek it in the deaths of his mother and sister.

Defense attorney Samuel Dixon said it was too early in the case to comment on the impact of it being a capital case.

His girlfriend, Valerie Mayo McGee, 33, has been charged as an accessory in the case for allegedly helping to destroy and conceal evidence. She is out of jail on bond.


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  • x Jul 27, 2010

    If the facts are correct, this dude needs to be behind bars forever.

  • meh2 Jul 27, 2010

    NJ - racism-free since? Oh, right, never.

  • awr117 Jul 27, 2010

    "When are we (yes, WE, I am now a part of the South) going to get over this?"

    Once the NAACP stops promoting racism.

  • NJtarheel Jul 27, 2010

    Racism is not what this is all about, however, being a Yank from NJ, it seems to me that racism is a common thread for all of you Southerner's.... When are we (yes, WE, I am now a part of the South) going to get over this?

  • meh2 Jul 27, 2010

    My apologies - in that case, we need to be more like VA, less like MA or CA or any other liberal state.

  • nagreene Jul 27, 2010

    Well hopefully justice is served. This is a sad situation.

    @ meh2- vsusu is correct. I have relatives who work at the prison John Muhammad was executed and it is a state prison located approximately 30 miles from Roanoke Rapids.

  • vsusu2002 Jul 27, 2010

    vsusu - you are confusing federal jurisdiction with state. The DC sniper was executed by the feds, not a state.

    Meh2, the DC Sniper was executed at Greensville Correctional Center in Jarratt, Virginia. This prison is a state prison not a federal prison.

  • between_the_lines Jul 27, 2010

    "Nah nah nah nah, nah nah nah nah hey hey hey GOODBYE! This isn't about race; black, white, red or yellow this dude has got to pay for this henious act and the girlfriend too." - penelope1

    That's hilarious! I agree

  • working for deadbeats Jul 27, 2010

    "Racism!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! PLEASE!!!!! It isn't about race it is about the type of person that would do this. If the victims had been African American and the murder white he would still deserve the death penalty!! If he has confessed there shouldn't even have to be a trial, not only will the state have to pay for the prosecution but the defense attorney. What kind of attorney would even want to try to get him off?" joni1439

    You clearly aren't familiar with my postings. I was being sarcastic.

  • MrX-- Jul 27, 2010

    meh2-"vsusu - you are confusing federal jurisdiction with state. The DC sniper was executed by the feds, not a state."

    Nope, John Allen Muhammad was executed by Virgina. He was not convicted of any federal crimes.