A man serving life in prison plus 40 years for killing a friend and dumping the body in a car found at the bottom of Lake Norman in 1993 has been granted parole by the state.
Kerry Lee McPherson, 45, will be released on Dec. 7, 2018, the state Post Release Supervision and Parole Commission announced Thursday. He will have spent more than 25 years in prison by that time.
The four-person board does not publicly disclose how how its members voted.
McPherson, formerly of Vale, pleaded guilty in Lincoln County Court to second-degree murder and armed robbery.
He had entered the Mutual Agreement Parole Program, according to the parole board. That program is tailored for inmates who agree to meet certain milestones to merit parole consideration, such as earning their way to work release programs and remaining infraction free.
McPherson, who is housed at the Lanesboro state prison in Polkton, has had seven infractions between 1999 and 2012, state records show.
Observer reports at the time detailed the slaying.
In June 1993, Lincolnton resident Randall Sherrill, 26, went missing, and had last been seen with his buddies, McPherson and Richard Keith Congleton of Lincolnton.
About a week later, authorities found Sherrill’s body in the trunk of McPherson’s Monte Carlo, which had been submerged in Lake Norman in eastern Lincoln County. A witness who saw investigators remove the body said authorities also recovered clothes, bottles and a Freddy Krueger horror mask from the car.
Sherrill had died from at least one blow to the head by a blunt object, an autopsy found. He had worked as a quality control metals inspector for Gaston County Dyeing Machine Co.
Authorities said McPherson and Congleton had stolen Sherrill’s car, drained his bank account and lit out for Myrtle Beach, then went to McPherson’s mother’s house in Swan Quarter south of Nags Head before driving off again. They were detained by Ohio state troopers at a rest stop after a routine check determined they were in Sherrill’s Honda Prelude, which had been reported missing.
Prosecutors spared McPherson the death penalty and agreed to let him plead to second-degree murder in exchange for his guilty plea and testimony against his co-defendant. Congleton, 42, is serving life in prison, state records show.
Observer researcher Maria David contributed.