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Matthew Keith Hutcheson

Matthew Keith Hutcheson

Jury members picked for murder trial

By Darla Slipke

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NASHVILLE – The defense attorney for a 29-year-old man accused of killing a Rocky Mount man in 2011 told jurors Monday that testimony about substance abuse might come up during the trial this week.

Attorneys interviewed 20 potential jurors Monday in N.C. Superior Court in Nash County. They dismissed eight people before they filled 12 juror spots for the murder trial. Attorneys also questioned five people to fill two alternate juror positions.

Matthew Hutcheson, 29, is facing a first-degree murder charge for the death of a 32-year-old Duwone Vondel Parker of Rocky Mount.

Parker’s body was discovered in March 2011 in the woods on the 3700 block of Greystone Drive. His body was wrapped in plastic that was held in place by Duct tape, according to a report from the N.C. Medical Examiner’s Office. His body also had been burned, the report shows.

On Monday, attorneys spent most of the day
selecting jurors.

Hutcheson sat next to his attorney, David Braswell, in court.

Braswell asked jurors if they have any close family members or friends who have suffered from drug or alcohol addictions. He said that topic might come up during the trial this week.

Braswell also asked the potential jurors whether they have a problem with someone owning a gun.

The prosecution asked potential jurors if they would have a problem seeing crime scene photos, among other questions.

The jury includes six men and six women.

After the jury selection, Thomas H. Lock, Senior Resident Superior Court Judge for Judicial District 11B, dismissed the jurors.

He then asked Hutcheson a few questions.

Hutcheson told the judge he has a bachelor’s degree, and he completed approximately two years of graduate work. He told the judge he is taking a couple prescription medications that he said do not impair his ability to understand what is going on.

The judge said that in this case, in order to convict Hutcheson of first-degree murder, the state must prove to the jury beyond a reasonable doubt that murder was committed with malice and after premeditation and deliberation.

If the state is unable to prove that, but does prove beyond a reasonable doubt that Hutcheson killed the victim, then the jury could convict him of some lesser degree of homicide, such as second-degree murder, the judge said.