Lenoir man found not guilty in 26-year-old double homicide case

William Murphy
William Murphy Caldwell County Sheriff’s Office

After a trial that started in August, a 57-year-old Lenoir man was found not guilty on Thursday of killing a Caldwell County couple in 1990, the Caldwell County District Attorney’s Office said.

William Eugene Murphy was on trial for the second time in the deaths of Mark Randall Secreast and his wife, Jeanie Barlow Secreast.

Murphy’s first trial ended on Feb. 10 when jurors deadlocked 6-6, prompting Superior Court Judge Nathaniel Poovey to declare a mistrial.

Murphy was arrested and charged in 2010 in connection with the murders. The case remained unsolved until new evidence surfaced that led to Murphy’s arrest, prosecutors said.

The second trial started on Aug. 8 and included a month of jury selection.

The 12-member jury deliberated over three days before delivering their verdict to Judge Hugh Lewis at about 2:30 p.m. Thursday. The reasons behind the verdict were unknown Thursday.

Joe Marusak: 704-987-3670, @jmarusak