WWAY TV 3
A man convicted of murder in the death of a Boiling Spring Lakes police officer was sentenced to death by a jury that initially recommended a life sentence.
The Brunswick County Superior Court jury recommended the death sentence for Darrell W. Maness in the death of Mitch Prince, who was shot to death in January 2005 during a traffic stop.
Before it recommended the death sentence, however, the jury returned to the courtroom about noon yesterday, when a clerk announced a jury recommendation of life without parole.
But when Judge D. Jack Hooks Junior polled jurors, eight appeared to favor the death penalty and only four favored life in prison. Hooks then directed the jury to continue deliberations.
The jury had convicted Maness of first-degree murder Friday.
It's been an emotional rollercoaster Tuesday in court because of something district attorney Rex Gore says he has never seen before.
WWAY TV 3
We're clearing up some confusion that happened in the Brunswick County courtroom when the jury sentenced Darrell Maness to death.
Jurors say what seemed to the court like two different verdicts -- life and then death -- was actually a big misunderstanding.
Juror Bradley Ward says the 12 members did not understand the verdict procedure. Ward says they thought if one person felt Maness should live life in prison had to be their verdict.
When Judge Hooks polled them individually, more than half told him they disagreed with the original verdict. That's when the jury deliberated again and came back with their final decision: death for Maness.