Local News

Robert McNeill Denies Brother's Involvement in Slayings

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RALEIGH — March 27, 1996, 5:12 p.m. EST

Related WRAL-TV5 News Audio Files:Listen to Michael McNeill describe a phone call that implicates his brother, Elmer Ray McNeill, as anaufile.

Robert McNeill testified Wednesday that his brother Elmer Ray was not involved in the slaying of two Food Lion employees in 1993.

But Robert McNeill declined to answer many of prosecutor Evelyn Hill's questions, citing his 5th Amendment right against self-incrimination.

On Tuesday, another McNeill brother, Michael, testified that Elmer Ray confessed his involvement in the slayings during a telephone conversation.

Lawyers for Elmer Ray McNeill Jr. asked for a mistrial Wednesday because Michael McNeill addressed his sibling directly during testimony Tuesday. But Superior Court Judge Donald Stephens said the remarks did not constitute grounds for a mistrial.

Elmer Ray McNeill's murder trial has split the family into opposing camps.

Roberta McNeill has been supportive of sons Elmer Ray and 27-year-old Robert, who also is charged in the September 1993 execution-style murders of two Food Lion employees.

Robert McNeill will be tried later. He testified Wednesday against the advice of his lawyer. Prosecutor Hill suggested that Robert and Elmer Ray McNeill were merely trying to cover for each other.

Michael McNeill, who is not charged with any crime, testified Tuesday that he and Elmer Ray, 25, spoke by phone February 19, 1994.

Michael McNeill said during that call his brother admitted he had killed Michael Truelove and John Ray. Truelove and Ray were closing up the store for the night when they were shot in the back of their heads by intruders. The store is at Six Forks and Strickland Roads in North Raleigh.

Michael McNeill said he was testifying because he "wanted to make sure that if this was in fact true, what he told me, all the victims of this crime get justice."

He also testified that his brother Elmer Ray is "loyal to a fault," and said he believes he might be covering up for Robert

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