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Jury selection underway in trial for 2009 murder

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WHITEVILLE, NC (WWAY) -- A Whiteville family will have to wait one more day for answers in the trial of a man accused of killing their loved one.

There was no testimony was today as jury selection began in the murder trial of Danny Ray Nobles, though the defense provided some insight into its strategy.

Through the questioning today it appears the defense will try and prove that Nobles was mentally unstable when investigators say he killed Thomas Lee Melvin in 2009.

Since turning himself in after the crime Nobles has been institutionalized with mental health problems.

"We had called the cops several times to come out here and try to put a stop to it," neighbor Estelle Sellers told WWAY after the shooting.

Investigators believe Nobles shot and killed Melvin after the 53-year-old accused Nobles of spitting on him from his upstairs apartment.

In a 2009 interview with WWAY, Whiteville Police Det. Todd Dixon described the scene.

"Mr. Nobles went to his vehicle, pulled a rifle and began shooting the victim. The victim ran and was literally running for his life," Nobles said. "I'm just wishing that people in the city could disagree without being violently disagreeable."

Jury selection will continue Tuesday as both the prosecution and the defense comb through potential jurors to ensure that they are able to cope with the stress of such a high-profile and controversial murder trial.

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