Local News

Psychologist: Accused killer had been diagnosed with PTSD

Posted July 21

— The Texas man accused of robbing and killing a Granville County couple almost three years ago had been diagnosed as a child as suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder because of repeated physical and emotional abuse by his father, a psychologist testified Friday.

Eric Alexander Campbell, 24, of Alvin, Texas, is charged with first-degree murder, first-degree burglary, second-degree arson, robbery with a dangerous weapon, larceny of a motor vehicle, financial card theft, identity theft and two counts of cruelty to animals in the Dec. 31, 2014, deaths of Jerome Faulkner, 73, and his wife, Dora Faulkner, 62.

If convicted, he could face the death penalty.

Jerome Faulkner, Dora Faulkner, slain Granville County couple

Authorities say Campbell and his father, Edward Watson Campbell, stormed into the Faulkners' home in northern Granville County, robbed them, set fire to the house and killed them before fleeing in both the couple's Chevrolet Silverado and a stolen SUV.

Eric Campbell insisted during testimony Thursday that his father killed the Faulkners and that he was outside their home in northern Granville County during much of the attack.

Leigh Hagan, a Virginia-based psychologist hired by the defense, said several psychologists have diagnosed Eric Campbell with chronic PTSD, starting at age 8. Hagan said his own examination found Campbell to be so afraid of his father that he would never challenge or even question him, even during the brutal attack on the Faulkners.

"The abuse relationship substantially accounts for Eric's conduct in the time frame of this offense," Hagan testified. "Eric endured reasonable fear that he would suffer immediate death or bodily injury if he didn't submit to his father's will.

"Eric decided ... it would be better for his own protection to do what Daddy says," Hagan later testified.

Edward Campbell killed himself in March 2015 in Raleigh’s Central Prison, where he was being held.

Earlier Friday, Eric Campbell faced about three hours of cross-examination by prosecutors, who repeatedly pointed out inconsistencies between his testimony Thursday and his statements to law enforcement officers shortly after his arrest.

Police in Lewisburg, W.Va., arrested the Campbells on Jan. 1, 2015, following a shootout, and investigators found the Faulkners' bodies under a mattress in the back of the pickup.

Eric Campbell gave West Virginia police a first-person account of the Faulkners' slayings, but he testified that he based that on what his father had told him.

"I'm just telling you what my dad told me what he did," Campbell told Granville County District Attorney Mike Waters.

"I'm not asking what your dad said because you already told the jury you were right there when it happened," Waters shot back.

"I wasn’t watching what my dad was doing. I was looking at a man on the ground, dying," Campbell said.

Campbell said he thought his father planned to rob the Faulkners and was shocked when he saw the carnage inside the house.

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