State to seek death penalty against Courtney man

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State to seek death penalty against Courtney man

Post  NEADP on Sat Jun 21, 2008 10:22 pm

State to seek death penalty against Courtney man


State prosecutors say they plan to ask for the death penalty against a Courtney man who is accused of killing his wife and a neighbor in December. But the defendant's attorneys say that Robert Lane Main's emotional state at the time of the double murders was diminished, meaning that he lacked the capacity to plan the capital crimes.

Main, 51, formerly of 1034 U.S. 601, is charged with 2 counts of 1st-degree murder and 1 count of 1st-degree burglary. According to Sheriff Mike Cain, Main allegedly shot his 47-year-old wife, Linda Kathleen Main, while she was asleep. He later broke into a neighbor's house and allegedly shot 40-year-old Mitchell Todd Stimpson while he was sleeping on his couch.

The Dec. 4 killings occurred along U.S. 601 South in the Courtney community.

Main, who remains in the Yadkin County Jail without bond, was later arrested by Watauga County deputies after Yadkin authorities notified area law enforcement that Main was headed to Wilkes County. After arresting Main without incident, deputies recovered a 12-gauge shotgun.

Although investigators have not released a specific motive for the double murders, they did say that Main had tried to voluntarily commit himself to an area hospital for psychiatric treatment prior to the incident. However, authorities say that Main lacked health insurance and couldn't afford the estimated $500 to $800 a day in medical expenses.

State prosecutors have said they plan to seek the death penalty against Main. And that is what prompted his attorneys to seek out a recent psychological assessment. In a two-page letter filed last week in Yadkin County Superior Criminal Court, Main's attorneys say that they plan to introduce expert testimony related to Main's mental disorders that will call into question whether he planned the 2 shootings.

"The defendant's capacity to premeditate and deliberate at the time of the offense was impaired," J. Clark Fisher, a Winston-Salem attorney says.

Fisher has also asked that potential jurors be polled individually on the death penalty, saying that the jury will be selected that can be "truly fair and impartial to both sides."

Only one Yadkin County resident, Joseph Earl Bates, has ever been executed by the state. That came in September 2003 after a series of unsuccessful appeals. Bates was convicted in 1990 of kidnapping and killing a man before dumping his body in the Yadkin River.

Main is scheduled to appear Aug. 25 in Yadkin County Superior Criminal Court.

The N.C. Division of Coalition Against Domestic Violence has listed the killings as part of 85 domestic violence homicides in North Carolina last year.

(source: The Yadkin Ripple)

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