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Jury selection begins for man accused of four murders

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WHITEVILLE, NC (WWAY) -- It's the first death penalty case in more than a decade for Columbus County. Danny Lamont Thomas, a 38-year-old former resident of Chadbourn is on trial for the murder of four people.

Today was the start of jury selection at the Columbus County Courthouse. District Attorney Jon David says the process is expected to last several weeks.

David says Thomas already has a life sentence in prison for a murder in Durham. The trial is expected to last several months.

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Brief History

I did a search on this guy as anyone with multiple murders in multiple jurisdictions must have an interesting story. An article on WRAL, a Triangle TV Station, states in pertinent part:

"Thomas was the last of three suspects wanted in connection with the July shooting death of 31-year-old Ralph Joseph in Durham. Police believed the motive in that case was robbery. In 2000, Thomas was named a suspect and later found not guilty in the shooting death of a St. Augustine's College student.

Thomas faces charges, including first-degree murder, kidnapping and robbery in Durham. He is also facing charges of trafficking cocaine in Wake County."

Some would call me a bleeding heart liberal but even I have to question the need for a VERY costly capital trial. Either a.) confine him to total isolation and only the basic necessities, b.) execution without trial; preferably done in-house by a fellow convict with a shank rather than costly medical teams and the array of drugs, or c.) release the evidence and a description of his past and announce that more than likely he did it though since he is serving a non-parolable life sentence it is expensive and somewhat superfluous.

With government opportunity cost, defense attorney pay (since it's capital they're the good, billing kind not the salaried public defender,) specialist testimony, (meager) jury pay, and other expenses this trial will cost over $500,000. Not to mention the automatic appeal which, if unsuccessful, will be followed be several more - all on the state's tab.

This man will be in prison for life no matter the outcome of this case. This is irrefutable. Why not be pragmatic and divert this money to potholes, schools, state parks, anything tangible.

Thanks, from a concerned citizen.

No wonder it was so crazy!!!

This must be why I could hardly get around the Columbus county courthouse today it was a mad house and dangerous! Cops might want to step it up a notch when court lets out or someone is going to get hurt with all the foot traffic and vehicles trying to leave around there! Thanks, from a concerned citizen!