Death and Cumberland County

Cumberland County (which includes Fayetteville and Fort Bragg) seems to have quite a few murder cases in the news.

Prosecutors have elected not to seek the death penalty against Sgt. Edgar Patino, a soldier accused of killing his pregnant girlfriend and leaving her body in a hotel bathtub.  Prosecutors are seeking death against at least two other soldiers accused of murdering their spouses, John Wimunc and Richard Smith.

The State will be seeking death against Sean Patrick McDuffy for two murders it claims he committed 25 years ago.  It is unknown what new evidence the police have gathered against McDuffy.  When he was arrested for the crime in the 1980s, McDuffy was quickly released after a judge found that the State did not have probable cause (that is, a good reason to think he’d done it).

Prosecutors have decided not to seek death against two out of three defendants in a home invasion robbery.  Death will not be sought for Jivon Darden and Lonnie Joe Grant, but it is still on the table for Hakeem McKoy.

Counsel for Tim Hennis continue to assert that the military should not be allowed to try him in military court for a murder of which he was acquitted in civilian court.  A recent filing questions whether the Army has jurisdiction to try a soldier after he is discharged from the military for crimes committed prior to that discharge.

In nearby Moore County, lawyers for Michael Graham Currie sought a continuance because one of their witnesses is sick and the State still hasn’t turned over all of its evidence.  Prosecutors are seeking the death penalty against Currie for a 2007 homicide.  Of Currie’s four co-defendants, the State is only seeking death against one.

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