10/15/08 — Jury hears testimony in case of '05 murder

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Jury hears testimony in case of '05 murder

By Nick Hiltunen
Published in News on October 15, 2008 1:46 PM

Lawyers for the prosecution and defense questioned the first witnesses Tuesday in the trial of a man accused of firing gunshots into a Davy Boulevard apartment complex in June 2005, killing a Mount Olive woman.

Mount Olive police say Richard Lee Swinson, 27, is responsible for the death of Jennifer Louise McArthur on June 30, 2005, in a 2:15 a.m. shooting.

As the prosecution began to build its case, defense attorney David Sutton spent much of Tuesday questioning the credibility of the witnesses called by Assistant District Attorney Paige Rouse.

Among those questioned was Ms. McArthur's former boyfriend, Charles Evans, who told the courtroom that Ms. McArthur died in his arms.

"I know this is painful for you, because I know you cared about Ms. McArthur, but you didn't tell police that she died in (your) arms," Sutton said.

The boyfriend said that the detail must have been left out of the police report.

"Like I told the police officer, later, hollering and screaming, 'She died in my arms.' Like I told her mother, 'She died in my arms.' She took her last breath in my arms," Evans said.

Another witness was Risa Gross-Kornegay, who testified that she saw Swinson after the alleged murder.

Ms. Gross-Kornegay was brought in to testify from Maryland, where she is serving a jail term.

Sutton questioned her on her criminal record, and asked if she was receiving anything in return for her testimony.

Ms. Gross-Kornegay testified that she saw or spoke to Mount Olive police Chief Ralph Schroeder after the killing had occurred.

"He (Schroeder) flagged you down, according to him. According to you, you flagged him down, but you didn't remember that when you talked to me," Sutton said. "What you're doing is (saying) whatever the prosecution wants you to remember."

Ms. Gross-Kornegay testified that she was familiar with the accused, and said that Swinson had been to her house when she lived in Mount Olive.

She testified that she saw Swinson standing by an abandoned house on the corner near the intersection of Center Street and East Hillsboro Street.

"Did you see Mr. Swinson that day?" the district attorney asked.

"He was beside the house, it's on the corner. He had a hood. In July. It was obvious that he was hiding," she said.

The trial was expected to continue at 10 a.m. today.