Jury set in murder trial of Normal General Store owner

Judge: “Relatively close” to opening statements

By Kevin Spradlin

Previous coverage
* Prospective juror caught up in gambling ring
* Race becomes an issue in jury selection
Defense works from “presumption of innocence”
* Jury selection begins in murder trial

ROCKINGHAM — A jury of seven men and five women will hear the case against Alexander Ingram, a Jackson Springs man accused in the murder of former Norman General Store owner Michael Leverne Collins Sr.

The group, which includes three black men and one black woman, was decided on by Assistant District Attorney Dawn Layton and defense attorneys Stephen Freedman and Frank Wells after seven and one-half hours of questioning since Monday afternoon. Alexander Ingram, of Jackson Springs, is on trial for murder.

Attorneys could offer opening statements as soon as this afternoon.

Kevin Spradlin| PeeDeePost.com Alexander Ingram

Kevin Spradlin| PeeDeePost.com
Alexander Ingram

Retained among the prospective jurors is Juror No. 6, a man who was caught up by Richmond County sheriff’s deputies and agents with the State Bureau of Investigation late Tuesday night in a raid on a home or business that was alleged to have illegal poker machines in operation. The man was appointed an attorney, Mr. Kelly Williams, by Superior Court Judge Richard T. Brown and attorneys from both sides questioned the man again as to how that issue might impact his ability to be fair and impartial in the ongoing murder case.

“I still got a civic duty to do,” the man told Layton. “I made a commitment to you all. I feel in some kind of way I let the court down. That’s my guilt. I’m gonna stick with it if I can.”

Judge Brown ordered that no one from the DA’s Office or with law enforcement would contact the man during the trial.

Wells wanted to make sure the man wasn’t out to make the District Attorney’s Office “happy” by coming to a predetermined conclusion favorable to that side.

“I considered that when (Layton) asked me that question,” the man said. “I’m coming here with blinders on.”

A longtime friend of the Layton family, however, was not retained after the defense challenged her participation. The respiratory therapist already acknowledged knowing Layton since attending high school with her, and working with Layton’s mother for nearly two decades. In addition, the woman’s son is friend of a son of one of the lead detectives on the case.

Wells asked how the woman could be objective.

“The way I was raised,” the woman said. “I was taught to take care of myself.”

The randomly selected replacement for that woman, however, didn’t last long. The woman acknowledged still being upset over how her son had been killed in a logging truck accident nearly 20 years ago, at the age of 18. The retired utility worker told Wells the photographs of the crime scene, in which Ingram is accused of beating Collins to death with a hammer, would be difficult to look at.

“When my son was killed, it was about a mile from our house,” the woman said, choking up in the recollection. “It was bad. He was … hurt really bad and his face and his skull were crushed. It’s hard for me to imagine looking at photographs … It’s hard for me to even talk about it and it’s almost 21 years ago.”

The new — and final, for now — Prospective Juror No. 10 is a Richmond County native, a Hamlet man who’s worked for a local processing plant for more than two decades.

Judge Brown noted that three alternates also will be selected and will slide into the roles of any juror replaced during the trial. If any of the alternates have not been called up on to sit in the jury box prior to the start of deliberations, they will be released, Brown said.

Juror No. 1

White female. Hamlet resident. Workings with a staffing service throughout North Carolina. Married, three children. Favorite TV shows include Duck Dynasty and the fishing channel.

Juror No. 2 

White female. Lives in Hamlet, originally from Georgia. Married with children. Previously worked in labor and deliver at a hospital. Favorite TV shows include The Voice, The Bachelor and American Idol.

Juror No. 3

White male. Rockingham native. Machinist technician at local facility. Single, no children. Favorite TV shows include Sons of Anarchy, Game of Thrones and The Walking Dead.

Juror No. 4

Black female. Divorced. Rockingham native. Returned within the last five years to Richmond County after a career in Greensboro with a federal agency.

Juror No. 5

White male. Has lived in Rockingham for five yars. Raised in northeast of U.S. Works in information system in the health care industry. No children. Favorite TV shows include National Geographic, History Channel and the Food Network.

Juror No. 6

Black male. Hamlet resident, moved to Richmond County from Memphis. Works at local manufacturing plant. Married with two children. Was apprehended late Tuesday night by Richmond County sheriff’s deputies during a raid on an alleged illegal poker machine operation.

Juror No. 7

White female. Hamlet native. Married with a stepson. Favorite TV shows include Grey’s Anatomy and Downtown Abbey.

Juror No. 8

White female. Lives in Rockingham, formerly of western North Carolina. Retired schoolteacher. Married with a stepchild. Favorite TV shows include The Bachelor and Curious George.

Juror No. 9

Black male. Career man with the state Department of Corrections. Lives in Rockingham. Married with two children, one of works on the railroad and another with a local warehouse distribution center. Favorite TV shows include Pawn Stars and CSI.

Juror No. 10

Black male. Hamlet resident with two grown children and four grandchildren. He and wife work at local processing plant. Was called into court years ago to be a witness.

Juror No. 11

White male. Married with two children. Lives near Mt. Gilead. Grew up in neighboring county.

Juror No. 12

White male. Lives in Rockingham. Works at local warehouse distribution center. Single. Favorite TV shows include Game of Thrones and Downtown Abbey. Had a first cousin killed in unsolved murder nearly 20 years ago. Has a second cousin who works for the Richmond County Sheriff’s Office.



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