09/27/11 — Jurors selected in murder case

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Jurors selected in murder case

By Gary Popp
Published in News on September 27, 2011 1:46 PM

Twelve jurors and one alternate were selected Monday during the opening day of the Steven Lynn Barbour murder trial in Wayne County Superior Court.

Barbour is charged with first-degree murder in the December 2009 death of Jamie Lee Hinson. He could face the death penalty if convicted.

Assistant District Attorney Matt Delbridge and defense attorney Steven Fisher, of Greenville, took turns questioning a pool of prospective jurors for nearly three hours before the seven women and five men were agreed upon and sworn in.

Delbridge warned those in the jury pool that if they were selected, they would have to view photographic evidence that was "gruesome," "graphic," "grotesque" and "horrible to look at."

Hinson, 35, was found beaten to death in Evergreen Memorial Cemetery on U.S. 70 West near the Wayne and Johnston county line on Dec. 3, 2009.

Both Barbour and Hinson are originally from Johnston County and knew each other from contact in the Princeton community.

Barbour, 31, is the first of three suspects charged to go to trial.

Also charged are Joseph Lanier, 23, and Tara Sparks, 30, both of who lived in Goldsboro at the time of Hinson's death.

The three suspects were arrested by the Wayne County Sheriff's Office on Jan. 8, 2010.

Sparks, who was described in the courtroom as Barbour's girlfriend, has signed a plea agreement with the state and may have her charges reduced as a result.

During the jury selection, Delbridge asked the possible jurors if they would have trouble believing the testimony of Sparks if she were to take the stand and reduce her own sentencing.

Wayne County Sheriff's Office Investigator Richard Winders sat next to Delbridge during the first day of the trial.

Winders has been closely involved in the investigation, including drafting a five-page affidavit of probable cause in January 2010.

The affidavit, which requested a search warrant, includes a statement by Lanier saying that he was with Barbour when Barbour killed Hinson.

According to the document, Lanier also told investigators that Sparks was present at the time of the murder.

Barbour's pickup, clothing and DNA have all been obtained by the Sheriff's Office to be used as evidence.

Guilford County Resident Superior Court Judge Stuart Albright is presiding over the trial. Opening arguments were expected to begin when court resumes at 9:30 a.m. today.