BANGOR – The jury took about four hours to decide the fate of a North Carolina man charged with shooting a Millinocket businessman and his wife while they begged for their lives.
After a five day trial, Christopher Murray, 39, was found guilty of murder in the shooting death of Wayne LaPierre. Guilty of elevated aggravated assault for shooting his wife, Diem, who survived and testified against him. And guilty of robbing their Millinocket home of cash, jewelry and marijuana.
“It’s our intention to ask for a very significant sentence,” Lisa Marchese, Deputy Attorney General said after the verdict was read. “This was a home invasion. The intention was to kill two people. Miraculously, one of them lived.”
Murray faces 25 years to life.
“I do not think it was a fair trial,” said Orita Murray, mother of Murray. “In the first place, we was the only thing in there black. Not that I think that everybody white is racist or anything but I knew from day one that we was not going to get a fair trial, not in there.”
She added, “You know, I hate it for Ms. LaPierre. I hate it for her and I hate it for her husband but I do not, with every breath in my body, think it was my son that done it.”
During closing arguments, the prosecutor stressed that Murray didn’t have to pull the trigger to be convicted of murder.
“If you think he went in with the idea of promoting or facilitating this crime and was part of it, then he’s an accomplice and he’s guilty of the crime of murder,” Marchese said.
Investigators say Murray, Tony Locklear and Alexis Locklear went to the LaPierre’s together. Tony Locklear has pleaded guilty to the same charges Murray was convicted of, and Alexis Locklear pleaded guilty to robbery and got a plea deal. The defense says Tony Locklear pulled the trigger.
“He’s not an accomplice because there’s no proof beyond a reasonable doubt that he’s trying to help Tony Locklear,” said David Bate, attorney for Murray, said in his closing argument.
“This is not fair. There is no way in the world,” Murray’s mother said. “A man already admit to what he was doing. His daughter already told you what he is. And then you going to sentence my child.”
Bate said he was surprised by the verdict.
“We’re going to regroup and think about appeal,” he said. “We’ve been trying to establish record on that and see if can’t do anything there, maybe get Mr. Murray another trial.”