North Carolina Department of Correction news release

Witnesses selected for August 14 execution

August 10, 1998

Raleigh - Central Prison Warden James French named six official witnesses and five media witnesses for the August 14 execution of Zane Brown Hill.

The official witnesses are District Attorney Ronald Moore, Assistant District Attorney Kate Dreher, Deputy Sam Constance, Detective Michael Wilburn Wright, Captain Patrick Winfield Hefner and Lt. James Ruben Medford, Jr.

Media witnesses are Paul Clark, The Asheville Citizen Times; Kirsten Mitchell, The Hendersonville Times News; Frank Kracher, WLOS-TV, Asheville; John Tkach, WPTF Radio, Raleigh; and Estes Thompson from the Associated Press.

Hill is scheduled to be executed at Central Prison at 2 a.m., Fri., Aug. 14 by lethal injection. Buncombe Superior Court sentenced Hill to death on Oct. 3, 1990 for the murder of his son, Randall Hill.

Under the Department of Correction policy, the district attorney and sheriff in the county of conviction nominated the six official witnesses. These witnesses may include members of the victim’s family. A 1997 amendment to state statute ensures the crime victim’s family the right to witness the execution.

The Radio Television News Directors Association of the Carolinas selected the broadcast reporters and the N.C. Press Association selected the two print reporters. Following the execution, the media witnesses are required to relate their experience to other reporters immediately in Central Prison’s visitor center.

Nine people have been executed since 1977 when the death penalty was reinstated:

James W. Hutchins of McDowell County was executed March 16, 1984.

Velma Barfield of Bladen County was executed Nov. 2, 1984.

John W. Rook of Wake County was executed Sept. 19, 1986.

Michael V. McDougall of Mecklenburg County was executed Oct. 18, 1991.

John S. Gardner Jr. of Forsyth County was executed Oct. 23, 1992.

David Lawson of Cabarrus County was executed June 15, 1994.

Kermit Smith of Halifax County was executed January 24, 1995.

Phillip Ingle of Rutherford County was executed Sept. 22, 1995.

Ricky Lee Sanderson of Iredell County was executed Jan. 30, 1998.