A 31-year-old man is serving the rest of his life in state prison as a result of a jury this week finding him guilty of having killed a man in Rocky Mount.

John Michael McNeil stood accused in Edgecombe County Superior Court of having fatally stabbed Kenneth Earl Strickland, 50, in the Edgemont area of the city more than a year and a half ago.

The homicide case dates back to when police officers about 11:55 p.m. on Aug. 27, 2019, responded to a report of a domestic disturbance in the 1400 block of Hill Street and discovered Strickland dead at the scene.

Strickland’s body was found locked in a bedroom, police said.

McNeil was jailed without bond in the Edgecombe County Detention Center on a charge of first-degree murder after police located and arrested him.

The Rocky Mount Police Department announced the jury’s verdict on Wednesday in a posting on the department’s Facebook page.


The department in the posting expressed appreciation to the witnesses and investigators who testified during the trial and to an intense prosecution by the District Attorney’s Office.

Special Superior Court Judge Craig Croom presided during the trial.

The trial was not the first time McNeil had a case against him in Edgecombe County’s judicial system.

State Public Safety records said he was convicted in 2015 for common law robbery.

Common law robbery occurs when someone forcibly takes property from another person by using intimidation, threats or force.