Jury deliberates in Columbus County death penalty hearing

The trial of James McKamey continues.
Published: Jan. 24, 2023 at 5:20 PM EST
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WHITEVILLE, N.C. (WECT) - A jury began deliberating early Wednesday on whether a Columbus County man should be sentenced to death for a 2016 murder.

That jury found James McKamey guilty of first-degree murder last week. He stabbed Carol Greer, a retired Columbus County teacher, to death outside of her home in 2016. He was also found guilty of attempted murder after stabbing Reshonta Love the day before.

Tuesday, the defense called a psychologist to testify on a quantitative EEG scan conducted on McKamey in 2016. EEG scans record brain activity while someone does different activities, including laying down with their eyes closed or open, reading or doing math problems.

The witness testified Tuesday that McKamey’s EEG showed several signs of lower brain function, particularly in his frontal cortex. The frontal cortex controls decision-making and rationality, as well as allowing people to identify social cues and appropriateness.

The psychologist said because of lower functioning in that part of the brain, McKamey may be more impulsive and less likely to consider the consequences of actions. He also said McKamey may have post-concussive syndrome caused by a head trauma sustained when he was younger.

Prosecutors argued that’s not an official diagnosis, and additional procedures like an MRI and a CT scan were not conducted to validate the EEG results.

That witness joined three others in the sentencing hearing. On Monday, three of McKamey’s sisters took the stand, pleading for McKamey’s life. They described growing up in an abusive household, and also shared about McKamey’s head trauma he sustained in a car accident and issues with drug use.

The district attorney’s office did not call any additional witnesses.

On Wednesday, the prosecution and defense gave closing statements before the jury begins its deliberation. The 16-person jury must come to a unanimous agreement to sentence McKamey to death row, otherwise, he will spend the rest of his life in prison without the chance for parole.

The trial is scheduled to resume Thursday.