Mistrial declared in attempted murder trial
By Shavonne Potts
SALISBURY ó Superior Court Judge Kevin Bridges declared a mistrial in the case of a man charged with attempted murder after jurors failed to reach a verdict.
Murphy Leroy Corpening Jr. was charged in 2009 with trying to shoot George Bellum Ellis with a handgun outside Ellisís home on Myron Place off South Arlington Street.
Salisbury Police Department reports said Corpening walked up to Ellis, pointed a gun at him and pulled the trigger twice. The gun misfired both times. The incident occurred July 4, 2009.
Ellis was standing outside his home talking with Corpeningís mother, Marie Granford, when the incident occurred. When the gun misfired, the victim ran.
Neither a police report nor court documents point to a motive, and Corpeningís mother said in a document presented in court she could not explain her sonís behavior.
She said Corpening displayed uncharacteristic behavior in the weeks leading up to his arrest. Court documents said Corpening takes six medications, but did not name them.
Corpening underwent a psychological evaluation and was found competent to stand trial.
The trial began Tuesday with jury selection and ended Thursday when jurors could not reach a decision.
After deliberating for hours and asking the judge if lesser charges were possible, jury members said they were ěhopelessly deadlocked.î
The case can be rescheduled for a new trial at another time or prosecutors can offer Corpening a plea agreement.
Contact reporter Shavonne Potts at 704-797-4253.