08/10/04 — Hearing begins on appeal in Precious Whitfield murder conviction

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Hearing begins on appeal in Precious Whitfield murder conviction

By Barbara Arntsen
Published in News on August 10, 2004 2:00 PM

A hearing is being held this week in Wayne County Superior Court on whether statements by a man charged with murdering a 5-year-old girl can be admitted at trial.

Testimony began Monday and will resume today in the pre-trial hearing of Eric Glenn Lane, who was charged two years ago with kidnapping, sexually assaulting and murdering 5-year-old Precious Ebony Whitfield.

District Attorney Branny Vickory said that Detective Mike Kabler of the Wayne County Sheriff's Office, was the state's first witness during Monday's hearing.

Kabler was one of the officers who said he received statements from Lane about the murder. The defense will begin cross-examination of Kabler today. The defense is trying to keep Lane's statements from being admitted at trial.

After Kabler's testimony, the state is expected to call an investigator with the State Bureau of Investigation who also received statements from Lane.

In 2002, Precious was being watched by a 12-year-old uncle until her grandmother, Gladys Johnson, came home. At times she and other neighborhood children played on a swing set in Lane's yard. This time she had been riding her bike and was not seen after about 6 p.m.

A man fishing found the girl's body two days later, under the Airport Road bridge that crosses Nahunta Swamp.

Lane was charged with the crime a week after the girl's body was discovered. If convicted of first-degree murder, Lane would be sentenced to either life in prison or death.