Local News

Jury Finds Moore County Man Guilty in Slaying Trial

Posted October 10, 2007 6:40 p.m. EDT
Updated October 11, 2007 6:40 a.m. EDT

— A Moore County man charged with killing four people in a December 2003 robbery was found guilty of four counts of first-degree murder Wednesday by a jury.

Mario Lynn Phillips, 35, was the first of three people charged with murder and robbery in the quadruple homicide case to go to trial. Prosecutors are seeking the death penalty against him.

Eddie Ryals, 21, Carl Garrison Justice, 18, and Harvey Darrell Hobson, 20, all of Carthage, and Joseph Allen Harden, 19, of Vass, were killed on Dec. 19, 2003, in a mobile home on Heron Road east of Carthage. All four had been shot and stabbed in what authorities said was a robbery – the three suspects made off with $170.

Amanda Cook Varner, who survived being shot twice and stabbed 22 times in the incident, identified Phillips as the gunman and said Renee Yvette McLaughlin and Sean Maurice Ray assisted him in the crime.

Defense attorneys tried to convince jurors that Phillips shouldn't be convicted of first-degree murder in the case because he is mentally ill, was addicted to drugs at the time and somehow thought his friends were responsible for shooting his brother in Fayetteville earlier that same day.