LUMBERTON — Immediately after wiping tears from his eyes, Superior Court Judge Robert Floyd on Friday sentenced a Laurinburg man to life without the possibility of parole for a 2013 double-murder and rape.
Paul Dixon Milligan, 46, entered an Alford plea in the strangling deaths a 65-year-old disabled man and his live-in nurse at Pembroke apartment either late July 1, 2003, or early in the morning of July 2. An Alford plea allows a defendant to avoid admitting guilt, but that person is treated by the court the same as if a guilty verdict had been reached.
The courtroom stood silent after testimony from the mother and a brother of one victim and the father of the second victim.
“Mr. Milligan, I guess it is a good thing that you are sorry, it’s better than not being sorry. But it doesn’t change the fact that what you did was heinous and cruel,” Floyd said.
Moments earlier a straight-faced Milligan apologized to the families of his victims and to his own family for the trouble he had caused them.
“I can’t take it back, but I’m sorry for everything that happened,” Milligan said.
His apologies were not accepted by the elderly mother of Dennis F. Scott.
“He’s not sorry for what he did,” said Gladys Maynor, Scott’s mother. “He killed him and raped his nurse. How could he do that to someone.”
According to testimony, Milligan entered the home of his neighbor, Scott, 65, on the night of July 1, 2013, and struck Scott in the head with a wooden board. He then proceeded to attack Scott’s nurse, 28-year-old Krystal Long, with the wooden object before raping her. Milligan killed both of his victims by strangling them.
Scott had been disabled by an automobile accident earlier in the year and Long was his in-home help.
Scott’s son Dennis found the bodies on July 2, 2013.
“I’ve seen what he did, I’ve seen his work,” Dennis Scott said at the hearing. “He does not deserve to live. He deserves to die.”
Milligan was described by his attorney Ronald Foxworth as a “soft spoken, easy going, mild-mannered guy.”
“But when he drank and did drugs … a demon came out. And that’s what has happened,” he said.
Milligan became a suspect after his account of the evening could not be verified by detectives. According to testimony, Milligan’s DNA was matched to that recovered by a sexual assault kit performed on Long. After admitting the crime to Sheriff’s Office detectives, Milligan changed his story and claimed that an alternate personality of his performed the killings.
The Robesonian was unable to get an photograph of Milligan from the Sheriff’s Office.
In an unrelated case, a Robeson County teenager who shot a woman in the head as she fled a robbery was sentenced to at least five years in prison Friday.
Davonte J. McNeil, 19, pleaded guilty to two counts of assault with a deadly weapon inflicting serious injury, two counts of discharging a weapon into an occupied residence resulting in serious bodily injury and one count of discharging a weapon into a moving vehicle.
McNeil admitted threatening a woman and her children with a handgun as their Ford F-150 truck was stopped at a stop sign in Lumberton on Oct. 12, 2015.
McNeil demanded money from Christina Jones and her children, but she attempted to drive off and McNeil pulled the trigger. The gun misfired on the first shot, but he shot at three more times, according to testimony, striking Jones in the head and her son in the shoulder.
Jones lost hearing in one ear and is still under a doctor’s care for her injuries. A bullet remains lodged in her neck.
“When the gun misfired I stomped on the gas and I heard about three more shots, then things went black,” Jones said during testimony. “He had the gun right at my son’s head when it misfired.”
McNeil was sentenced to five years and five months to 90 months in prison followed by three years of probation. Two further sentences of two years to three and a half years were suspended upon satisfactory completion of the first sentence. The suspended sentences would run consecutively.
Reach Mike Gellatly at 910-816-1989 or via Twitter @MikeGellatly