Local News

Convicted Brother Refuses to Testify in Food Lion Trial

Posted September 24, 1996 12:00 a.m. EDT

— Prosecutors will have to make new plans after hanging their hopes on the already convicted brother of a man on trial for murder.

They had hoped when they called in Elmer Ray McNeil

It is McNeil's brother Robert (pictured below, left), himself already serving a 23-year sentence for robbing a different Food Lion store in 1993, who is on trial this time, charged with participating in the murder of two supermarket employees in 1993. That is the crime for which Elmer Ray McNeil was sentenced to death.

When he refused to speak to the court Tuesday, Wake County Judge Donald Stephens (pictured below, right) said his silence would speak as loudly as any testimony.

Elmer Ray McNeil could be charged with contempt of court, a charge unlikely to frighten a death row inmate. The judge also has the option of having a subpoena issued for the clerk of court in the first trial, to have the original testimony read on the stand in this one.

Testimony in the case had been expected to last for up to six weeks, but much of that time had been set aside for questioning of Elmer Ray McNeil.

The victims in this crime, Michael Truelove and John Ray, both employed at the Food Lion in North Raleigh at Six Forks and Strickland Roads, were closing the store for the night when they were shot in the back of their heads by Elmer Ray McNeil and, allegedly, his brother Robert.