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Gillespie sentenced to maximum in retrial

Staff report
Marion Preston Gillespie will spend at least the next 15 years in prison for the 2003 killing of his girlfriend.
Late Thursday afternoon Superior Court Judge W. Erwin Spainhour sentenced the 56-year-old Gillespie to the maximum sentence, between 20 and 25 years.
Spainhour called it the most heinous, atrocious and cruel crime he has seen in 39 years of practicing law.
Gillespie stabbed 50-year-old Linda Faye Patterson Smith eight times and slashed her 33 times in the bathroom of the home they shared at 640 Knox School Road, Cleveland.
A medical examiner said many of the wounds on Smith’s hands were defensive. One of the wounds, a deep slash of her neck went to the bone and severed major arteries.
Looking at a photo of Smith’s body in a bathtub filled with blood, Spainhour said he still remembered the photo from five years ago. “This is especially heinous and cruel … look at the picture,” Spainhour said, “that makes you want to throw up. ”
On Tuesday, Gillespie agreed to plead guilty to second degree murder of Smith.
In 2004, Gillespie was convicted of first degree murder and sentenced to life in prison. The N.C. Supreme Court ordered a new trial, saying the court should have heard testimony related to Gillespie’s mental competency. He was sentenced to life in prison without parole on Dec. 8, 2004.
Given credit for time served, Gillespie could be releated from prison in 15 years.

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