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Murder Cases To Occupy Dare Court Calendar

By Louise LaPlant, The Coastland Times

Three men accused of murder in unrelated cases will have hearings or trials in the next two weekly sessions of Dare County Superior Criminal Court, which begin Monday, March 8.

Michael Grant Dial, Clifton Eugene Spencer, and Melvin Lee Marshall are all scheduled on the court calendar. Two other men accused of murder in related cases, Ole Bostrom Lundin and Peter Kenneth Lundin, had their trial continued until next month’s session of Superior Court.

Melvin Lee Marshall, 26, of Norfolk, Va., was awarded a new trial on murder charges by the North Carolina Court of Appeals in March of last year. Marshall was charged with first degree murder of 30-year-old Kil Lee Jennette of Buxton in June 1990 and tried in February 1991.

The Court of Appeals reviewed the instruction to the jury and found that Judge Herbert W. Small did not instruct the jury on defense of habitation.

According to accounts of the incident, there was no doubt that Marshall shot and killed Jennette; the question was whether it was premeditated murder or an act of self-defense. Testimony in the 1991 trial stated Jennette entered Marshall’s residence and began beating him with a piece of wood. Marshall defended himself from three attacks, the final one was when the .12 gauge shotgun he was holding went off and Jennette was shot twice.

The report continued that, immediately following the shooting, Marshall went to a neighbor’s house and said, “Call the police. I shot someone and I think he is dying.” He then waited for the police to arrive.

Attorney for the defense, Mark Spence, said he will try the case on self-defense again. “Every killing is not a crime.” he said. Marshall, according to Spence, maintains he did not commit a crime.

Marshall was found guilty on manslaughter charges, which indicates the act of killing was carried out in the heat of passion, but there was no premeditation or predetermination. He was sentenced to 12 years active time. Marshall has been out on bond since December of last year when his bond was reduced to $6,500. One stipulation of the bond hearing was that Marshall not go onto Hatteras Island.

Jury selection for the retrial will either begin on Tuesday. March 9, or Monday, March 15. Post-trial motion hearings for Clifton Eugene Spencer, 33, of Columbia, are scheduled for Monday, March 15.

These motions, according to attorney for the defense Edgar Barnes, are to determine if the constitutional rights of his client were violated during the January 1991 trial proceedings.

Spencer, convicted to a life sentence on a no contest plea to charges of second degree murder of 28-year-old Stacey Stanton, filed papers requesting “appropriate relief,” citing an erosion of his rights during questioning and incompetent assistance of counsel during the legal process.

In June of last year an investigation of Greensboro attorney R.O. Murphy was ordered, and Barnes, of the Dare County firm of Merrell and Barnes, was appointed to represent Spencer in this matter.

Spencer’s 77-page, handwritten petition claims that he was picked up by a Tyrrell County deputy and taken to that county’s sheriff’s office presumably on a fugitive warrant from New Jersey.  Several days later, State Bureau of Investigation and Dare County officers removed him from Tyrrell County to Dare County for questioning without his consent.

Spencer claims that he never signed any confession and said Murphy did not challenge the confession presented by the state, forcing Spencer into a plea bargaining position. Spencer alleges this was not any kind of break for him because in the absence of evidence showing premeditation, first-degree murder would have been ruled out at the trial level.

Ms. Stanton was found dead in her Manteo apartment in February 1990 when a co-worker went to see why she did not show up for her shift at a local restaurant. There was no sign of forced entry. Spencer admitted to being in her apartment the night before. He claims innocence in the murder of Stacey Stanton.

Dial, 36, of Norfolk, Va., will have his second set of pre-trial motions hearing in Superior Court on Friday, March 12. A motion to suppress certain statements to be used as evidence and the constitutionality of the evidence were first heard in the January pre-trial motion hearings. Judge Thomas Watts of Elizabeth City presided in those hearings, calling the motion a “Catch 22” dilemma as to whether Dial was interrogated by an agent of the state who may or may not have been a law enforcement officer.

Dial is charged with the first degree murder of 22-year-oId Brenda Gail Dozier, whose decapitated and handless body was found in the Nags Head surf in July 1991. Before her death, Dial lived with Ms. Dozier in Norfolk.

Dial’s trial is scheduled to begin in Dare County Superior Court in mid-April. Judge Watts ruled in January that North Carolina had jurisdiction after careful reading of case law presented by both sides and after the defense counsel conceded that the body of the deceased was found in the state.

Dial’s last proceedings in the court room produced a large media interest.

Dial is currently being housed in the Dare County Detention Center in the medium security area, and will be there through the trial.

Also scheduled for trial in April are Ole Bostrom Lundin, 57, and Peter Kenneth Lundin, 20, both of Maggie Valley, N.C., who pled not guilty on murder charges of Anna Schaftner Lundin. Mrs. Lundin’s body was found on Nov. 1, 1991 at the base of a sand dune on Hatteras Island following the Halloween Storm.

Dare County issued warrants for arrest on June 2, 1992 for Peter, her son, charging him with murder. Ole, her husband, was charged as an accessory after the fact. The arrest look place in

Ontario, Canada, shortly after the warrants were issued. Both men are being housed in the Dare County Detention Center in separate areas, and will be there though their trials.

To see the scans of the archived newspaper page where this article appeared, click here and here.

READ MORE ARTICLES RELATED TO THE STANTON CASE HERE.