Death penalty trials declining in North Carolina
Published 12:00 am Thursday, December 26, 2013
RALEIGH (AP) — The number of death penalty trials in North Carolina is dropping.
Only one person in the state was sentenced to die in 2013.
Mario Andrette McNeill, 33, was convicted last spring of kidnapping, human trafficking and killing a 5-year-old Cumberland County girl.
His trial was one of five capital cases where a death sentence could have been imposed.
North Carolina has averaged fewer than three death sentences a year over the past decade. That compares with the 1990s, when there were more than two dozen people often were sent to death row in a single year.
North Carolina had no executions this year. A series of lawsuits filed in 2006 challenged the fairness of executions.
The state has 155 inmates on death row, but most have challenges pending.