Local News

Robert McNeill Convicted of First-Degree Murder

Posted October 15, 1996 12:00 a.m. EDT

— A Wake County jury took fewer than four hours to convict Robert McNeill of two counts of first-degree murder in the death of two Food Lion employees, Michael Truelove and John Ray.

Robert McNeil, who is already serving a 23-year sentence for robbing a different Food Lion store in 1993, showed no emotion when the jury's verdict was read.

Shirley Myers, Truelove's mother, talked to WRAL TV5'sMark Robertsin the parking lot of the store where the crime occurred, after the verdict was read. She said she always thought Robert McNeil said she always thought Robert McNeil was the mastermind, and that the verdict would bring her some peace.

Roberta McNeill, Robert McNeill's mother, bolted from the courtroom when she heard the verdict. As she ran down the stairs, she said, "There was "no justice in Wake County today".

The same jury will reconvene Wednesday for the sentencing phase. McNeill could join his brother Elmer Ray McNeill, 25, on death row.

Prosecutors contended that Elmer Ray McNeill shot the two men, while Robert McNeill plotted the robbery and shootings. Elmer Ray McNeill refused to testify against his brother when called by prosecutors to take the witness stand.

The gun has never been found, nor have any witnesses been discovered.

The charges and trial have split the McNeill family, with another brother, Michael, testifying about what he said was an incriminating phone call from Elmer Ray five months after the slayings. The McNeill parents are siding with the accused sons.

Roberta McNeill said after Elmer Ray's sentencing hearing that shemightbe able to forgive Michael McNeill when she is a very old woman, adding that if Elmer Ray dies, Michael is dead to her as well.