01/30/08 — Man convicted in 1987 killing paroled

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Man convicted in 1987 killing paroled

By Nick Hiltunen
Published in News on January 30, 2008 1:46 PM

A 72-year-old man convicted of first-degree murder is out on parole approved by the N.C. Post-Release Supervision and Parole Commission, according to a news release.

It was the second time since July 2006 that Bill Vester Coker had come up for parole for the fatal shooting of Wayne "Red" Smith on Jan. 20, 1987.

Coker was convicted on Jan. 26, 1988.

Smith was found on the the floor of his brother's Hood Swamp mobile home, dead of gunshot wounds.

More than one witness testified during Coker's two-week trial that he had fired the fatal shot.

A relative of Coker's testified that Coker suspected the shooting victim, Smith, had "set him up" to sell drugs to an undercover officer.

A new structured sentencing law eliminates the possibility of parole for anyone convicted on or after Oct. 1, 1994.

The Post-Release Supervision and Parole Commission retains the responsibility of paroling people convicted before that date, however.