Murder trial in church deacon's death begins

February 1, 2011 8:21:47 PM PST
The murder case of a Braggtown church deacon stabbed dozens of times has finally made it to trial.Authorities say 89-year-old Charles Forest Davis, a war veteran, was stabbed 46 times during an apparent robbery back in September 2007.

The prosecution started presenting its side of the case Tuesday, drawing attention to the gruesome crime scene.

One of two men charged in the stabbing death -- 21-year-old Tori Neal -- sat silently in the Durham County courtroom as graphic images of the man he's accused of killing played on a courtroom screen.

The murder sparked a brief manhunt and forced a nearby school to lockdown.

On Tuesday, officers testified Davis' stolen Buick turned up along with the suspects who tried to escape.

"I saw the car, I saw two black males running over the gravel road," Durham County Sheriff's Office Det. Hart said.

"I asked them their names and they said Stefon Hinton and Tori Neal," DCSO Investigator Alex Champagne said.

Both Neal and his co-defendant Stefon Hinton were teenagers at the time of the murder.

No stranger to the law, Neal was recently arrested on drug charges back in December.

Prosecutors have built their case with what they believe is solid evidence linking him to the crime -- a garden glove with traces of blood recovered from the victims' stolen vehicle and cuts found on Neal's hands.

Defense attorneys declined to comment Tuesday, but said in an opening argument that their client is not guilty. Testimony resumes Wednesday.

Despite facing murder charges, Neal is currently free on bond.

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