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VERDICT WATCH: Eric Campbell on Trial for Helping His Father Kill Elderly Couple


Deliberations begin Thursday afternoon in the murder trial of Eric Campbell. Jurors in Granville County, North Carolina have heard both sides to try to make sense of 13 days of testimony. Now they must decide: Is he responsible for the double murder of a local couple, or does all the blame lie with his father?

Prosecutors say the defendant joined his dad Edward Campbell on a multi-state crime spree from Texas to West Virginia. It culminated on Dec. 31, 2014, when these two allegedly stabbed to death Jerome Faulkner, 73, Dora Faulkner, 62, and the couple’s dogs at their Granville home, burned the house down, and brought the human victims’ bodies along in a stolen truck.

The son faces these accusations alone—The elder Campbell killed himself in March, 2015, while locked up as a pre-trial inmate at Central Prison in Raleigh, North Carolina.

The case may rest on how jurors understand the defendant’s relationship with his late father. The defense blamed the Faulkners’ deaths on Edward. They say that Eric, who faced years of abuse from the man, dared not cross him, and only believed the victims were going to get robbed, not murdered. Witnesses, including his brother and aunt, testified on Campbell’s behalf, saying that his dad was indeed a brutal man.

Dr. Nicole Wolfe, a rebuttal witness for the prosecution, finished her testimony Wednesday. The state used this forensic psychiatrist to show that Eric remains culpable for what happened to the Faulkners.

She said Campbell’s actions after the murders show he wasn’t paralyzed by fear when it came to his father. This contradicts defense experts who said he had PTSD from childhood, and therefore was too scared to stop his dad from killing the Faulkners.

Both sides made their closing arguments on Thursday.

Lead defense lawyer William Durham said the prosecution had to prove that Eric and his father had a “common plan.”

“And the state has not proven otherwise,” he said, later adding that “Eric Campbell had no intent to rob, to hurt, to steal.”

Yes, before the crime spree, Eric made a choice to join his father, who had just been released from a Texas jail, on a trip. But “he went because Eric loves his father, even though his father has treated him horribly his entire life.” Campbell joined Edward on the trip to support the older man, whose life was in shambles.

“That was a naive plan,” Durham said. “It was a stupid plan, but that was his plan. It’s why he did it.”

In one last attempt to depict Edward’s bullying nature, they played a jailhouse call from shortly before he was let out of a Texas facility.

Lead prosecutor Allison Capps tried to puncture that defense. Her mantra, repeated several times in her closing argument: “Conscious choices, deliberate decisions.” The defendant played an active role in the Faulkners’ deaths, she said.

The crime was way too complicated for Edward to do it all by himself. For example, Eric brought items like a crossbow, spear, and sword in a stolen white suburban to go on a camping trip with his father. Testimony by the Faulkners’ neighbors placed that vehicle in the area shortly before the murders—Capps used this detail to show that Eric helped Edward “ambush” the Faulkners. The perps used a telescope to watch the victims from an abandoned house across the street, she said. And the crossbow, one of the murder weapons, would’ve required more than one person to reload it. It’s doubtful that Eric would just stand by while his father prepared the bolt, she said.

“This is not a one-man job.”

Judging by the Faulkners’ defensive wounds, the couple fought back. They, especially Dora, struggled despite their age. Edward couldn’t have killed them by himself, the prosecution said. Eric played a role.

The defendant, who faces two counts of first-degree murder, could get the death penalty if convicted. He has also been charged with first-degree burglary, robbery with a dangerous weapon, second-degree arson, and two counts of cruelty to animals.

[Screengrab via LawNewz Network]

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