Golphin Brother Admits Firing Weapon
Posted April 5, 1998 7:00 a.m. EDT
FAYETTEVILLE — Just before opening statements got under way today in the murder trial of brothers Tilmon and Kevin Golphin, Tilmon presented the judge an "authorized admission." He admitted he fired shots that struck two law officers, although the statement did not indicate that they were fatal shots.
The brothers are accused of killing two law enforcement officers in cold blood in September, and could receive the death penalty if convicted.
Nineteen-year-old Tilmon Golphin Jr.'s admission was in a stipulation filed with Superior Court Judge Coy Brewer Jr. In the statement, he also admitted firing the same S.K.S. rifle at a witness's car and admitted possessing a stolen car.
The Golphins are on trial for the deaths of state trooper Ed Lowry, 47, and Cumberland County sheriff's deputy Ed Hathcock, 57.
Eighteen-year-old Kevin Golphin's attorney, Jim Walen, says he will make his opening statement after the prosecution presents its case.
The jury -- 10 women and two men selected in Johnston County -- will be bused to Fayetteville each day to hear testimony. The Golphins' lawyers argued an impartial jury could not be found in Cumberland County because of pretrial publicity.
The brothers were driving north on Interstate 95 when they were stopped by Lowry about 50 miles from the South Carolina border.
Police suspect the brothers stole the car they were in after robbing a finance company in Kingstree, S.C., hours earlier. Tilmon Golphin had been living with his mother's parents in Kingstree for nearly a year. His brother was visiting from Richmond, Va., where he lived with his mother and stepfather.
Lowry ran a license check and learned the car was stolen and that the two were wanted in South Carolina. Lowry radioed for backup and Hathcock responded.
Authorities said when the two officers attempted to arrest Kevin Golphin, Tilmon Golphin shot them with an assault rifle. Police arrested the Golphins in Harnett County after a chase.
Their trial is expected to last three to five weeks.
Brewer planned to rule today whether a letter taken from Kevin Golphin by a jail guard can be used as trial evidence. Golphin's attorney filed a motion to bar prosecutors from using the letter.
During a hearing last week, Central Prison Sgt. Scott Brown described the letter's contents as a confession.