Nicholson Trial Begins in Wilson
Posted October 31, 1999 6:00 a.m. EST
WILSON — After a string of delays, a highly publicized murder trial is getting underway. Prosecutors say Abner Nicholson shot and killed his wife, Gloria, and Sharpsburg Police Chief Wayne Hathaway.
Prosecutors wrapped up their first witnesses Monday, and jurors heard from Gloria Nicholson's step-father and younger brother who were both in the house at the time of the shooting.
However, defense attorneys say Abner Nicholson and Hathaway are both victims of a trap set by Gloria Nicholson.
Defense attorneys say Abner Nicholson was defending himself on the day Gloria and Hathaway were killed.
Nicholson went to the mobile home which he owned with his wife on July 17, 1997. The couple had fought the night before, and the defense said Nicholson thought his wife had a gun.
"We believe the evidence will indicate that he was not firing at anyone. He was firing toward people that he thought were beginning to fire at him," said one defense attorney.
Prosecutors call the murder pre-meditated.
Hathaway's family and former colleagues wore blue ribbons in the chief's memory.
His family and Gloria Nicholson's family had to relive the murders in court Monday.
The judge has imposed a gag order on all of the attorneys in the case as well as the victims' families.
There has been so much publicity surrounding the trial that a jury had to be pulled from Craven County. They were brought in Monday morning from New Bern.