HILLSBOROUGH, North Carolina (WTVD) --Prosecution and defense attorneys are busy picking a jury for the first of two men accused of beating a UNC professor to death in 2014.
Troy Arrington, of Chapel Hill, and Derick Davis II, of Durham, are charged with first-degree murder and armed robbery in the death of 59-year-old Feng Liu.
The men allegedly hit Liu over the head with a stone as he walked in Chapel Hill. They then took his wallet. The research professor died a day later at the hospital.
The news stunned the community.
"Because Chapel Hill is a very safe community. I've been living here for more than 23 years and this kind of tragedy has never happened before," said Liu's friend and colleague Hongbin Gu.
Arrington will be tried first. Gu said she and others have been waiting a long time for justice.
"They had a long history of criminal records, and when they committed the robbery and murder against Dr. Liu, they had been out of jail within one year," she explained.
Orange County District Attorney Jim Woodall is not seeking the death penalty.
"This time they're seeking life in prison. I think this is the sentence that they deserve, and that is what we're hoping to happen," said Gu.
Liu was an internationally-known scientist who had worked in UNC's Eshelman School of Pharmacy since 2005.
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