Local News

Wayne County Murder Suspect Taken To Central Prison

Posted May 22, 2002 5:46 a.m. EDT

— A Wayne County man appeared in court Wednesday to answer to kidnapping and murder charges in the death of a 5-year-old girl.

Eric Glenn Lane, 30, of 100 Brandywine Drive in Goldsboro, was charged with first-degree murder, first-degree kidnapping and a first-degree sex offense in the death of Precious Whitfield.

After Lane's court appearance, a judge ordered Lane to be placed in Raleigh's Central Prison for his own protection. The courtroom was heavily secured during Lane's court appearance.

"The reason it was so much security was not because of the three live threats that the sheriff's department received on Mr. Lane. Sheriff (Carey) Winders felt that we needed the security," said clerk of court Marshall Minschew. "Sheriff Winders came over for that purpose, and he had deputies spread out over the courtroom. Some of them were in plainclothes, and you didn't even know they were there."

Police said Lane lives down the street from the Whitfield family. They said they were able to finally get to the suspect throughout information obtained from their interviews.

"During the search, a door-to-door canvass was conducted in which neighbors were interviewed. Those canvass interviews proved to be very valuable," Wayne County Sheriff Carey Winders said. "In fact with the information gathered on Saturday, we started focusing on the suspect and eliminating other leads."

Police said they do not know of any motive.

The girl was last seen Friday night playing outside her grandmother's home in Patetown. Her body was found seven miles away in a creek Sunday by Leroy Murchison, along with the bike she was last seen riding.

"She was taped all up with duct tape and plastic up all over her body," he said.

Authorities believe Lane killed Whitfield within a couple of hours of kidnapping her.

Michelle Whitfield, Precious' mother, said she cannot believe what Glenn is accused of doing to her daughter.

"Why would you even do this to her? I know she's a very pretty little girl, but something like that is wrong. It's really wrong," she said.

Neighbor Herman Braswell said Lane sometimes acted strange.

"He was in the back yard, and he come out with his pistol and fired three times in the air," he said.

Whitfield said she wanted to thank the community for their support throughout the case.

"I want to thank everyone for helping with the search for my little girl. I want to thank everybody that has been coming out to the house, having the prayers and everything. Thank you so much," she said.

Lane works for Lane Electric, which is owned by his family. He was arrested on kidnapping charges in 1999 for an incident involving his ex-wife.

According to Wayne County District Attorney Branny Vickory, Lane also has a prior conviction of felonious restraint -- moving a person from one location to another without that person's consent.

The district attorney's office will not say if they are considering the death penalty in the case.

Whitfield attended Northeast Elementary School. While she was there only two weeks, she made an impact.

Guidance counselors have been on hand and students made cards that they hung on the family's door. Each grade also held a moment of silence during the school's awards ceremony.