A Mecklenburg County jury returned a verdict of not guilty today in the trial of Michael Mead. The State had sought the death penalty. After a two month trial, the jury deliberated for two days before finding that Mead did not kill his pregnant fiancee in 2008.
Jury selection begins today in the Moore County trial of Robert Stewart. Due to extensive pretrial publicity and strong community feelings, the jury is being selected from nearby Stanly County, but the trial itself will be held in Moore. Prosecutors allege that Robert Kenneth Stewart, angry at his estranged wife, entered the nursing home where she worked and shot dead seven patients and a nurse. The State is seeking the death penalty.
On Friday, prosecutors and defense attorneys made their closing arguments in the guilt-or-innocence phase of the Michael Mead trial. Prosecutors claim, based on the testimony of a jailhouse snitch, that Mead shot his fiancee when she tried to break up with him. Defense attorneys assert that the victim was in fact killed by her ex-boyfriend, with whom she was involved in a heated custody battle.
Jurors must now decide whether Mead is guilty or not guilty of first-degree murder. If they find him guilty, he could face the death penalty.
News is hard to find about the trial of Michael Mead, but it is clear that things are not going as planned for the prosecution. Last week, the trial judge threw out two of the four charges against Mead for lack of evidence. Now, the victim’s mother is calling for a mistrial because she thinks prosecutors have mishandled the case.
Prosecutors claim that Michael Mead murdered his girlfriend Lucy Johnson, while the defense asserts that the crime was committed by another man with whom Johnson was engaged in a heated custody battle. The trial was moved from Gaston County to Mecklenburg County due to extensive pretrial publicity.
7 – Humberto Leal (TX)
12 – Marcel Williams (AR – stayed)
19 – Kenneth Smith (OH)
19 – Thomas West (AZ)
20 – Mark Stroman (TX)
26 – Jason McGehee (AR – stayed)
29 – Robert W. Jackson III (DE)