10/03/12 — Murder suspect in court

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Murder suspect in court

By Kenneth Fine
Published in News on October 3, 2012 1:46 PM

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Gary Metzger makes an appearance in Wayne County Superior Court this morning. Metzger could face the death sentence if convicted of killing his sister, Jean Hubbard.

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Jean Hubbard

A man charged with killing his sister last summer was inside a Wayne County courtroom this morning, as Superior Court Judge Arnold Jones set a date for a hearing that will determine whether, if convicted, he would face the death penalty.

Gary Metzger will be back in court Nov. 7 for the Rule 24 Hearing, a pretrial conference during which the prosecution is required to say in court whether or not the state is going to seek the death penalty in a first-degree murder case.

The state's case against the defendant started with a missing persons report -- with a phone call from one of Jean Hubbard's co-workers informing police that the 66-year-old had not shown up at the Goldsboro News-Argus for several days.

Two days later, after a tip was called into the Crime Stoppers hotline, city and county law enforcement made a gruesome discovery in a wooded area behind Country View Mobile Home Park -- the woman's body hidden under a pile of debris.

Shortly thereafter, with the case now classified as a homicide, a six-hour manhunt ensued for the man and woman investigators believed were behind it.

And by day's end, Metzger and his wife, Ann, had been taken into custody and charged with murder.

Several days later, a search warrant dated Aug. 5, 2011, revealed that Metzger confessed to killing his sister in the living room of the home he shared with his wife July 30 -- that he killed Ms. Hubbard, stuffed her body in a closet overnight and, the next day, wrapped her in a sheet, moved her to a nearby wooded area and covered her with tree limbs and debris.

The document also stated that during the search of the Metzgers' home, police seized twine, a flashlight and copies of a restraining order Ms. Hubbard had taken out against Ann Metzger -- and that during recorded interviews conducted with the husband and wife, they provided conflicting stories of their relative's last known whereabouts.

Investigators also seized bank receipts, notebooks, checks, a checkbook, an address book, a weekly planner and other items.

The Metzgers have been in custody ever since and were indicted by the Wayne County Grand Jury last month after jurors found sufficient evidence to proceed with first-degree murder charges against them.