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Linwood Forte To Face Either Life In Prison Or Death Penalty In Nightstalker Cases

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WAYNE COUNTY, N.C. — A Goldsboro jury will soon decide the fate of a man convicted of several rapes and murders in 1990. Linwood Forte faces either life in prison or the death penalty.

During the sentencing phase Thursday, defense attorneys had experts testify that Forte suffered from mental problems when he raped and murdered several elderly people in 1990.

Authorities did not have any leads on the "Nightstalker" cases until 2001, when a federal grant allowed the SBI crime lab to pull evidence from old, unsolved cases. SBI agents were able to link Forte to the unsolved murders with DNA evidence. At the time, Forte was not considered a suspect in the crimes. On Tuesday, jurors found Forte guilty of the crimes.

"I know I slept better after the jury came back with a guilty verdict," said Chief Tim Bell, of the Goldsboro Police Department.

Defense attorneys claim Forte is a troubled man who saw visions and heard voices and had a drug and alcohol addiction, but prosecutors claim Forte knew what he was doing when he committed the murders.

The jury may begin their deliberations Monday because the defense plans to bring more character witnesses Friday morning and prosecutors may offer rebuttal witnesses.


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