11/28/12 — Trial for July Fourth deaths delayed

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Trial for July Fourth deaths delayed

By John Joyce
Published in News on November 28, 2012 1:46 PM

A civil trial set to begin Monday in Wayne County Superior Court in the case of the Fourth of July explosion that killed four people in 2009 has been stayed pending the appeal of a motion filed by the defense.

Four separate claims for civil damages have been filed against the fireworks company, Melrose South Pyrotechnics, by the families and the estates of the victims, all of whom were from Goldsboro.

The victims were Terry Holland, 49, Charles "Kirk" Kirkland Jr., 49, Lisa Simmons, 41, and Mark Hill, 21.

They were members of the Lord's Table Church and were unloading the fireworks from a truck for a celebration on Ocracoke Island when the blast occurred.

The four claims are being heard at once, with each party being represented by an individual attorney.

Officials with the Wayne County Clerk of Courts office said that the case has been remanded to the Court of Appeals in Raleigh and will likely not be heard in a Wayne County court for another year.

The stay came when the defense filed a motion for a summary judgment that could have resulted in the case being thrown out had the presiding judge agreed that there were not enough facts to support the families' claims.

Superior Court Judge Arnold Jones found there was sufficient factual basis for the case to be heard by a jury and denied the motion.

The defense filed a motion to appeal.

Once the appellate court rules whether to uphold or overturn Jones' decision on the motion for a summary judgment, the trial will likely either be dismissed or sent back to Wayne County.