03/19/07 — Legg murder trial

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Legg murder trial

By Lee Williams
Published in News on March 19, 2007 2:00 PM

Nearly four years after the Seven Springs slaying, a man accused of gunning down a shopkeeper's son-in-law during a robbery will have his day in court.

Jury selection for Roy George Legg, 58, who is charged in the murder of Ricky Thompson, 43, and the attempted murder of the victim's wife, Teresa Thompson, is expected to begin about 9 a.m. in the Wayne County Courthouse.

Wayne County Superior Court Judge Gregory Weeks is slated to preside over the trial. Wayne County Assistant District Attorney Matt Delbridge will prosecute the case. Attorney Glenn Barfield will represent Legg.

Legg faces a slew of charges in connection with the May 24, 2003, incident including armed robbery, preparation to commit burglary, breaking and entering, larceny and possession of stolen goods.

The charges stem from allegations that Legg broke into Ralph Casey's Grocery and Auto Parts store on N.C. 55 about 3:30 a.m.

Armed with a 9 mm handgun, Legg allegedly entered the store and stole food, candy, soda, batteries and cigarettes. But he was captured before he could leave the store in his gray 1985 Cadillac Fleetwood that was parked down the street.

The store owner's wife, Lena Casey saw the back of a man's head on a security monitor she kept in her bedroom and called her son-in-law, Ricky Thompson to investigate. She then called 911.

According to sheriff's reports, Thompson, who was armed with a handgun, entered the store, confronted Legg and a gun battle ensued. Both were shot multiple times, however, Thompson's injuries were fatal. He died at the scene.

Teresa Thompson, her adult daughter, Nita Thompson, and other relatives arrived to detain the suspect, but Legg continued to put up a fight.

As he ran away, Legg allegedly tried to shoot at Mrs. Thompson and Nita Thompson, who were outside the store, according to reports.

Mrs. Thompson then drove a car through a wooden fence and knocked down Legg. They detained him until deputies arrived.

They later found Thompson's body.

Thompson was a former volunteer fireman and mechanic for Seven Springs Fire Department. He was also the father of Randy Thompson, a Wayne County sheriff's deputy who is assigned to the K-9 Division.

The trial could take an emotional toll on many at the sheriff's department who say the incident has touched one of their own. A videotape detailing the grim ordeal has been taken into evidence and could be introduced during the trial.

More than 43 witnesses, including Mrs. Thompson, who still has vivid memories of the incident, have been subpoenaed.

Mrs. Thompson said she couldn't understand why Legg, who lived in a tent at Tony Daw's Campground, would allegedly do such a thing.

She recalled that her father, Ralph Casey, had given Legg $9 in food just a few days before the murder. She also said the health of her parents has drastically declined since the ordeal.

The Caseys had planned to turn over the store to Ricky Thompson when they retired. But after his death, they were forced to shut down the store that had long been a mainstay in the small town.

Barfield was unavailable for comment. However, he told the court he intended to show Legg suffers from a mental illness, which had a direct bearing on the case.

He also stated in a letter dated Nov. 30, 2006, addressed to the Wayne County District Attorney's Office he "plans to rely on a defense of mental infirmity, diminished capacity, self-defense and accident."

Legg sustained permanent injuries on the day of the shootout and now reportedly uses a walker to get around.

Legg was being housed at a state prison facility. However, he is being held at the Wayne County Jail pending the outcome of the case.