03/03/06 — Husband won't face death for wife's murder

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Husband won't face death for wife's murder

By News-Argus Staff
Published in News on March 3, 2006 1:51 PM

KENANSVILLE -- A jury has overturned the death sentence of Cornelius Alvin Nobles, who was convicted in August 1996 of the murder of his wife, Ronita Nobles, on Paul Ed Dail Road outside Kenansville.

The resentencing hearing was the second one held after Nobles was sentenced to death in 1997 after a jury found him guilty of first degree murder in Sampson County.

The first resentencing hearing was held in 2000 because of a technicality.

Cornelius Alvin Nobles


The latest one started in January and ended Tuesday with the overturned death sentence. The jury gave Nobles, who is 42 now, life without parole.

Duplin Sheriff's Capt. Timmy Jones said there had been a history of domestic violence in the Nobles case. Nobles had been in jail on domestic violence charges.

A judge gave Nobles a relatively small bond, which he posted bond and was released, court documents showed.

Soon after posting bond, Nobles went to the house where his wife was living with her three small children. When she attempted to leave the house, Nobles pulled his car into the middle of the road to try to stop her, Jones said. When she did not stop, Nobles fired into the Nissan pickup truck his wife was in with the children.

"One bullet hit his wife in the left side and entered her heart," Jones said. "She died at the scene."

Jones said he disagrees with the sentence.

"This time, the jury tried his parents instead of him," Jones said.

Evidence was presented alleging abuse and a rough childhood, which could have contributed to the reduced sentence, Jones said.

""I think it was irrelevant," he said. "They should have stuck with the facts and not brought up his childhood. I feel every man should be responsible for his own actions."