06/24/05 — Jurors see photos before weekend recess

View Archive

Jurors see photos before weekend recess

By Jack Stephens
Published in News on June 24, 2005 1:45 PM

Jurors on Thursday saw graphic photographs of Precious Whitfield after the 5-year-old girl had been raped and murdered.

The photographs were introduced as evidence in the first-degree murder trial of Eric Lane, who is accused of killing the girl more than three years ago and dumping her body in Nahunta Creek.

Soon after the jury saw the photos, they were dismissed for the week. The trial in Wayne County Superior Court was recessed early to allow defense lawyer Glenn Barfield to attend a state Bar Association ceremony in Asheville at which former Sen. Henson Barnes of Goldsboro was inducted into the association's Hall of Fame.

During the day's testimony, Capt. George Raecher of the Wayne County Sheriff's Office identified evidence he collected at the spot where the girl's body was found and at Lane's mobile home and outbuildings on Brandywine Drive.

Raecher said a blue tarpaulin was found along Lancaster Road near the creek after he and other detectives finished their work at the Airport Road bridge, where the girl's body was found a day after she was reported missing. He also described finding a roll of duct tape with blue fibers on it in one of the shed's at Lane's home.

The girl's body was found bound with duct tape.

Raecher said a stack of blue tarpaulins were on the right side of the shed. Raecher said on one shelf was "a square area with dust, where it appeared to me a square object had been removed."

Two witnesses, Jay Fail and his wife, Brendalynn Fail, testified Wednesday that on the evening the girl disappeared they had seen a man riding a red scooter and carrying something in a blue tarpaulin at the intersection of Lancaster and Big Daddy's roads, a short distance from the creek.

Three other witnesses also had testified that they had seen a man near the bridge the same evening.

Raecher testified that he seized red scooter from one of Lane's sheds. When Raecher presented the scooter in court, the jurors stood up together to get a better look. He also displayed Lane's white and red riding helmet.

Investigators took a blue coat with a red spot on it from Lane's home. They also took a pink shirt with a red spot, a pair of scissors with a white fiber between the blades, a knife, a piece of bedspread and khaki shorts.

Some of the items seemed out of place in a home that appeared otherwise neat, Raecher said.

Raecher said black fibers were found wrapped around a vacuum cleaner roller. The bag had been emptied.

Two white trash bags also were seized, and the contents included a Pepsi can that had been described by a previous witness.

Raecher will return to the stand at 9:30 a.m. Monday when the trial resumes.

District Attorney Branny Vickory is expected to complete the state's case next week.