LUMBERTON -- Two brothers who are charged with first-degree capital murder and armed robbery escaped a potential death penalty when a judge ruled Monday they are mentally retarded.
Superior Court Judge Gary Trawick also expressed his displeasure with results from the jury-selection process after nearly 80 percent of those subpoenaed failed to show up in court.
Richard Campbell, 39, and Charles Campbell, 44, appeared in court Monday wearing gray suits, handcuffs and leg shackles. Each man carried a Bible. The Campbells are charged with killing and robbing Marshall McRae, 43, on Feb. 12, 1999.
Trawick based his ruling on a report by Dr. Mark Hazelrigg, a Durham psychiatrist, who said both men had IQs at or below 70, the state's legal definition for mental retardation. Hazelrigg's report also said the Campbells were both significantly limited in their adaptive skills.
The judge also ruled Monday that the men will be tried together.
Authorities believe the Campbell brothers gunned down McRae in the driveway of his Daniel McLeod Road home in Red Springs after a car pulled up and a conversation took place. Two other people -- Timothy Joshuar Campbell, a cousin of the Campbells, and James S. Walker -- are also charged with first-degree murder in the McRae killing.
Timothy Campbell will be tried separately.
Assistant District Attorney Tony Berk told Trawick and defense attorneys Monday that James Walker's charge will be dismissed as long as he testifies truthfully.
Richard, also known as "Ricky," and Charles Campbell, both of 1700 Old Johnson Road, Red Springs, have been in jail since their 1999 arrest.
Berk asked the judge if the number of defense attorneys could be reduced, since the defendants are no longer facing a capital murder charge. Under state law, capital defendants are allowed two lawyers.
Defense lawyers for Charles Campbell are Sue Berry and Bob Jacobson, while Richard Campbell's lawyers are Carlton Mansfield and John W. Campbell.
Trawick denied Berk's motion, but told him he could include additional counsel from the District Attorney's Office during the trial. He then joked to the defense lawyers that he thought Berk "could handle all of ya'll."
Jury selection began Monday afternoon, but Trawick said the process could take time because only 44 people showed up for jury duty after the court had called 210 potential jurors. Trawick said he was considering contempt of court citations for those who did not respond.
"It is the lowest percentage that I've ever seen," Trawick said. "It is a black mark on the citizens of this county."