07/12/06 — Death off table for 2003 store shooting

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Death off table for 2003 store shooting

By Jack Stephens
Published in News on July 12, 2006 1:52 PM

A 58-year-old man accused of fatally shooting a shopkeeper's son-in-law more than three years ago during an early-morning burglary and gun battle near Seven Springs will not be tried for his life.

George Roy Legg will be tried for first-degree murder in the death of Ricky A. Thompson, 43, on May 24, 2003, at Ralph Casey's Grocery and Auto Parts store at 5430 N.C. 55 East. The trial is not expected to begin until October.

Assistant District Attorney Matt Delbridge said he would not seek the death penalty.

After a pre-trial hearing, Wayne County Superior Court Judge Jerry Braswell of Goldsboro ruled last week that Legg would not face the death penalty

Goldsboro lawyer Glenn Barfield has been appointed to represent the defendant.

Legg also has been indicted by the Wayne County Grand Jury on charges of attempted first-degree murder, armed robbery, preparation to commit burglary, breaking and entering, larceny and possession of stolen goods.

Legg was accused in a seven-count indictment of trying to murder Teresa Thompson, the victim's wife, stealing food and cigarettes from the store, and possessing a handgun during the crime.

According to reports, that morning, Thompson, who lived a few miles from the store on Indian Springs Road, was called by his mother-in-law after she had heard someone in the store and then saw the back of a man's head inside the store by means of a security camera. Mrs. Casey, who lives next to the store, then called 911 at 3:53 a.m.

Wayne County sheriff's detectives said Thompson entered the store, confronted the intruder and exchanged gunshots with him. During the 911 call, Mrs. Casey said she had heard gunshots.

Other family members rushed to the store and detained Legg long enough for deputies to arrive. Mrs. Casey said Legg had been a regular customer for about a year.

Sgt. Carter Hicks, the first deputy to arrive, reported that two people had been shot and requested an ambulance. Each man had suffered multiple gunshot wounds, detectives said.

Thompson was pronounced dead at the scene.

Legg was taken by ambulance to Wayne Memorial Hospital, where he was stabilized, and then transferred to Pitt County Memorial Hospital in Greenville. After he was released from the hospital, he was transferred from the Wayne County Jail and held without bond at a state prison because of special medical needs.

Legg, who had a Pittman Street address, lived in an old Cadillac that was seized near the store and held as evidence. Two pistols, a rifle and ammunition also were seized from the car, court records showed.

After operating the store for 40 years, Casey closed it Jan. 1, 2005. Then 79, he said he and his wife, Lena, were too old to continue running it. They said in an earlier interview that if their son-in-law were still alive, the store would still be open.

Thompson's son, Randy, a former Goldsboro police officer, now is a deputy and dog handler with the Sheriff's Office.