LUMBERTON - A state prosecutor in a Robeson capital murder trial argued Wednesday that a Maxton man used vigilante justice nearly three years ago in the shooting deaths of two men in the Prospect community.
Carlos Sampson, 32, of 9621 U.S. 74 West, near Maxton, is charged with two counts of first-degree capital murder in the killings of Rory Waltman, 18, and James Major Locklear, 21. Sampson faces the death penalty or life in prison without parole if convicted.
Assistant District Attorney Martha Duvall argued that Sampson took justice into his own hands and used a shotgun to murder two unarmed men. Waltman and Locklear were killed at Waltman's home on Onnie Joe Road on Oct. 4, 2001.
Duvall argued Sampson went to the home looking for a man called James "Cowboy" Lowery, whom Sampson accused of setting fire to his aunt's home on St. Anna Road near Pembroke.
Sampson's defense lawyers, Ken Ransom and Harold Pope, argued that Sampson killed Waltman in self-defense and that someone else killed Locklear. Ransom told the jury that Sampson went to the home looking for Lowery, and didn't know Waltman or Locklear before that day.
"Carlos Sampson didn't go to the home with a grudge against Rory Waltman or James Major Locklear," Ransom said.
"Rory Waltman came out of his home with his gun preparing to fire," Ransom said as he described the shooting. "As Carlos told you, he saw that gun raised. He ducked and fired in self-defense. It was gun vs. gun."
Duvall told the jury that there was no evidence Rory Waltman ever had a weapon and that Sampson arrived at the home prepared for a gunfight, armed with three guns, including a 12-gauge shotgun, a .38-caliber handgun and a rifle.
Duvall argued that Sampson arrived asking about Lowery, and fired two warning shots into the air after he thought he saw Lowery in a window at the home. Duvall argued that Sampson fired two more shots at Whitney Waltman's brother, Rory Waltman, and Locklear after realizing they lied about Lowery's whereabouts. Duvall told the jury four shotgun shells were found in the yard.
The jury deliberated about 45 minutes Wednesday afternoon and will continue deliberations today.