Yesterday was the Spring Bike Run here in BSL. They were raising money for the police memorial landscaping to be done in Memory of BSL Police Officer Mitch Prince. He was shot to death last year by an idiot. The trial has been going on for the past 2 weeks and Friday they found the idiot guilty of first degree murder. My thoughts on this case
I thought first degree murder was when you actually *planned* the murder before hand. Actually gave it some thought over a period of time.
I'm thinking the idiot deserves the death penalty. I think it should be an automatic sentence if you kill a law enforcement officer no matter how much thought went into it.
I'm just a little confused though that everyone is so angry that this idiot took Mitch's life that they are over looking the fact that this was not premeditated unless a 10 minute fight and grabbing of the gun makes it that way. If that's the case why aren't more people being convicted of first degree murder?
I dunno...like I said, he deserves the death penalty anyway. But how we got to this stage of it is a little upsetting to my sense of the law.Below is the local news paper article
First-degree murder verdict; sentencing next week
By Ken Little
The sentencing phase of the Darrell W. Maness trial begins Monday in Brunswick County Superior Court. Maness family members are expected to testify for the defense, which will try to establish mitigating factors that favor a prison sentence of life without parole, as opposed to the death penalty.
Darrell W. Maness took the life of Boiling Spring Lakes police Officer Mitch Prince, and a Brunswick County Superior Court jury now will decide if Maness dies.
Jurors deliberated about two hours Friday before finding Maness, 20, guilty of first-degree murder for the shooting of Prince early Jan. 18, 2005, after a traffic stop on N.C. 87 near Sunny Point.
Maness, who was also found guilty of seven other felonies in connection with his actions afterward, looked down and dabbed tears as the verdict was announced.
Loud sobs from Maness’ mother, Annette Tidwell, echoed through the courtroom
Sitting behind District Attorney Rex Gore and other prosecutors, Prince’s parents hugged, and his wife, Pamela, held the hand of mother Daphine Prince.
After two weeks of witness testimony, the trial enters a sentencing phase Monday. The jury of seven men and five women must decide between execution or life in prison without parole.
Jurors paid attention to the testimony of 16 prosecution witnesses, Gore said outside the courtroom.
“The state agrees with their decision in every verdict, and we will move on to the next stage,” Gore said. “This jury made the right decisions.”
Prince’s immediate family left the courtroom quickly and without comment.
“They still have a lot to sort out,” Gore said.
Rick Miller, of the N.C. Capital Defender’s Office, attempted to comfort Tidwell after the murder verdict was handed down. The defense never denied Maness shot Prince but sought a second-degree murder conviction.
“We’ve got work to do, and we’re looking forward to presenting our side to the jury next week,” Miller said.
Prosecutors focused during the trial on the brutality of the crime and what they said was premeditation and deliberation by Maness. Testimony showed Maness struck Prince on the head with a bottle and stunned him before gaining control of the officer’s Glock service weapon. Prince pleaded for his life before being shot three times at close range, two witnesses in the car with Maness testified last week.
The defense put just one witness on the stand, a psychiatrist who interviewed Maness and studied his school and social services records. Maness has attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, had a nightmarish childhood and was addicted to marijuana, Moira Artigues testified.
In 1986, Maness’ father killed a retired police officer in Alamance County. Darrell E. Maness, 44, is serving a life sentence. Artigues testified the younger Maness was not capable of forming the “specific intent” to kill Prince.
Prosecutors said Maness fired on three officers after shooting Prince. Maness said he had “blacked out” but also made several incriminating statements during a videotaped interview with a State Bureau of Investigation agent after his arrest. The tape was introduced into evidence and shown to jurors this week.
Maness was a probation violator with a misdemeanor conviction for selling marijuana and told the SBI agent he didn’t want to go back to jail. He said in the videotape that he panicked during the confrontation with Prince and “wanted to get rid of him.”
Richard White, chief of the Boiling Spring Lakes Police Department, sat through the month-long jury selection process in Columbus County and every day of trial testimony. He said Friday that Prince’s death affected the lives of many people, and he strongly supports the death penalty for Maness.
“There is more to executions than justice for the dead. There is also protection for the living. Darrell Maness deserves the ultimate punishment our society has to offer,” White said. “It is my view that pursuing a death sentence in this case is appropriate. There is no adequate and acceptable alternative.”
The jury found Maness guilty of two counts each of attempted first-degree murder, assault with a firearm on a law enforcement officer and assault with a deadly weapon with intent to kill. He also was found guilty of robbery with a firearm in connection with the shooting of Prince.
Maness was found not guilty of one count each of attempted first-degree murder, assault with a firearm on a law enforcement officer and assault with a deadly weapon with intent to kill.
Ken Little: 343-2389