Local News

Jury Selection Has Begun in Lee County Trial

Posted February 4, 1997 12:00 a.m. EST

— Lee County prosecutors are asking for the death penalty in an unusual case. Jury selection began Tuesday in the double murder trial of Donald Abercrombie. The bodies of his alleged victims have never been found.

Prosecutors are saying little about their case, but court papers indicate that Abercrombie has confessed to the 1995 murders of two senior citizens. Prosecutors are also expected to produce some DNA evidence that was mentioned during jury selection.

Prospective jurors are being asked if theycouldconvict someone of murder without a body.

Abercrombie is charged with one count of robbery and two counts of first degree murder. At the time of the killings, investigators found a trail of blood inside the home of 79-year-old Hoyle Smith, one of the alleged victims.

Abercrombie is currently serving a 25-to-30 month sentence in connection with a Fayetteville standoff in which he held police at bay for 17 hours. That incident occurred five days after police think Smith and 66-year-old Helen Boone were killed.

Three jurors were seated Tuesday. Officials think it will take several more days to complete jury selection. Opening arguments are scheduled to begin next Tuesday if the jury is in place by then.