Local News

Fair's Murder Trial Under Way in Raleigh

Posted April 25, 1999 7:00 a.m. EDT

— Eight months ago, Wake County Assistant Principal Reubin McNeill was kidnapped, robbed and murdered. The trial of his accused attacker, Nathaniel Fair, Junior, is now under way.

Fair's trial began with testimony from the widow of Reuben McNeill.

Prosecutors are seeking the death penalty and says it has a mountain of evidence against Fair, an ex-con found with McNeill's credit cards, his Ford Explorer and who even allegedly assumed McNeill's identity.

"There was blood on the inside driver's door and that blood was a mixture of Reubin McNeill's blood and blood of the defendant," says Susan Spurlin, assistant District Attorney.

McNeill was stabbed 15 times and his body abandoned in a lot near Meredith College.

Questions surround the circumstances of his last hours and death. Among them: How did Fair and McNeill encounter each other? How did Fair come by McNeill's credit cards? Why did he allegedly assume his identity? And who is the person the defense says is responsible for the killing?

The defense contends Fair and McNeill met at an adult bookstore, then McNeill agreed to go along as Fair bought crack in West Raleigh. At some point, the defense says, they met up with a drug dealer named 'T-Bone' with whom Fair had allegedly been fighting.

Fair contends McNeill was stabbed when he got into the middle of the dispute.

"T-Bone pulled a knife on Mr. Fair and they commenced a struggle, a fight," explains Defense Attorney Tommy Manning. "Mr. McNeill came to Mr. Fair's assistance and he was attacked by T-Bone."

As to why Fair drove off with McNeill's Explorer?

"He testified that he was frightened, that he is a coward and that he did not call the police and that he did not go back," says Manning.

There were two glaring omissions in court Monday. Fair's attorney did not mention how Fair ended up with McNeill's credit cards and the prosecution never explained how McNeill met Fair.

Fair has said he intends to testify at his trial.