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Written Confession Does Little to Alter Food Lion Trial

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RALEIGH — Attorneys for a man charged in connectionwith the so-called Food Lion murders had hoped that the contents of amystery envelope would help clear their client in the 1993 double murderand robbery.

Robert McNeil's defense team opened the envelope in court Thursday, andwere disappointed in its contents. Someone had dropped off an unsignedtyped confession at the attorneys' offices in an envelope that alsocontained two bullets, allegedly from the same batch used in the murders.

Judge Donald Stephens read the confession with the jury out of thecourtroom.

Prosecutors said the bullet should be tested, as the defense teamhuddled hoping for a decision favorable to their side.

Judge Stephens decided to put the matter on hold, saying he could seeno reason to stop the current proceeding in order to pursue another issue.He called the timing of the letter's arrival 'very suspicious' and that hedoubted the confession would turn out to be valid.

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