North Carolina Department of Correction news release

March 27, 1997

Witnesses Selected for April 4 Execution

RALEIGH -- Central Prison Warden James French named six official witnesses and five media witnesses for the April 4 execution of Phillip Edward Wilkinson.

The official witnesses are Assistant District Attorney Calvin W. Colyer of Fayetteville, Detective Jeffrey Lee Stafford of Lenoir, Lieutenant Michael Calfee of Fayetteville, Larry M. Hudson of Falcon, Special Agent Jay Tilley of Fayetteville and Sergeant Ray T. Maness of Pleasant Garden.

Media witnesses are Marc Barnes from the Fayetteville Observer Times, Mark Moses of the Red Springs Citizen, Estes Thompson of the Associated Press, Mark Roberts of WRAL-TV, Raleigh and Mark Boyer of WGNI Radio, Wilmington.

Wilkinson is scheduled to be executed at Central Prison at 2 a.m., Friday, April 4. Cumberland County Superior Court sentenced Wilkinson to death on September 15, 1994 for the murders of Judy, Chrystal and Larry Hudson. Phillip Edward Wilkinson asked that all his appeals be dropped.

Under the Department of Correction policy, the district attorney and sheriff in the county of conviction each nominate two witnesses and the State Bureau of Investigation and the N.C. Law Enforcement Officers Association each nominate one. the six official witnesses sign an affidavit of execution following the execution.

The Radio Television News Directors Association of the Carolinas selected the broadacast reporter and the N.C. Press Association selected the two print reporters. The Associated Press selects its own wire service representative. Following the execution, the media witnesses are required to relate their experience to other reporters immediately in Central Prison's visitor center.

Eight people have been executed since 1977 when the death penalty was re instated. James W. Hutchins of McDowell County was executed March 16, 1984. Velma M. Barfield of Bladen County was executed November 2, 1984. John W. Rook of Wake County was executed September 19, 1986. Michael V. McDougall of Mecklenburg County was exeucted October 18, 1991. John S. Gardner of Forsyth County was executed October 23, 1992. David Lawson of Cabarrus County was executed June 15, 1994. Kermit Smith of Halifax County was executed January 24, 1995. Phillip Ingle was executed September 22, 1995.


EDITOR'S NOTE: Mark Moses of the Red Springs Citizen notified the department he could not serve and Joe Neff of the News and Observer of Raleigh was named as his replacement.

EDITOR'S NOTE: Cumberland County Superior Court Judge Gregory Weeks stayed Wilkinson's execution April 3, 1997.