Judge again blocks dead man’s statements absolving son of Granville couple’s killings
For the second time in a week, a Superior Court judge has dealt a blow to the efforts of a Texas man to convince jurors he didn’t kill a Granville County couple almost three years ago.
Eric Alexander Campbell, 23, of Alvin, Texas, is charged with first-degree murder, first-degree burglary, second-degree arson, robbery with a dangerous weapon, larceny of a motor vehicle, financial card theft, identity theft and two counts of cruelty to animals in the Dec. 31, 2014, deaths of Jerome Faulkner, 73, and his wife, Dora Faulkner, 62.
Authorities say Campbell and his father, Edward Watson Campbell, stormed into the Faulkners’ home in northern Granville County, robbed them, set fire to the house and killed them before fleeing in both the couple’s Chevrolet Silverado and a stolen SUV.
Police in Lewisburg, W.Va., arrested Edward and Eric Campbell on New Year’s Day 2015 following a shootout, and investigators found the Faulkners’ bodies under a mattress in the back of the pickup.
On the ride back to North Carolina, Edward Campbell told Doug McFee, a detective with the Granville County Sheriff’s Office, that his son was only along for the ride and wasn’t involved in the Faulkners’ slayings.
“I’m an authoritarian dad, and as you might expect, he’s not going to question me,” Edward Campbell said, according to a transcript of the conversation that was read in court Tuesday outside the presence of the jury. “He was trying to get me to go back to Texas.
“I don’t want my boy taking this ride. He doesn’t deserve it,” Edward Campbell continued. “I’m the one that did the [crimes]. Boy doesn’t deserve it. He’s trying to do good by his family, which is a good trait to be admired.”
Defense attorney Amos Tyndall asked McFee, “He’s just trying to look after his dad. That’s all he’s doing. He wouldn’t hurt a flea. He wouldn’t hurt anybody. Is that what [Edward Campbell] told you?”
“Yes, sir,” McFee replied.
Prosecutors objected to presenting the statements to the jury, saying Edward Campbell was merely trying to clear his son, and they wouldn’t be able to challenge him on any of it.
Edward Campbell killed himself in March 2015 in Raleigh’s Central Prison, where he was being held.
Judge Henry Hight agreed that statements were inadmissible hearsay – he made a similar ruling last week regarding other statements by Edward Campbell to law enforcement officers – but he did allow the defense to introduce Edward Campbell’s statements that he was a domineering father and was abusive toward his family.
Eric Campbell’s defense has maintained that he was under the control of his father and didn’t willingly participate in the crime spree.
In other testimony Tuesday, a forensic analyst from the State Crime Lab said they found traces of Dora Faulkner’s blood on a bolt, or arrow, from a crossbow found in the stolen vehicles the Campbells were driving when they were arrested. Some of Jerome Faulkner’s blood was found on the broken crossbow itself, according to the analyst.