First Posted: 1/15/2009
Faced death for Parkton School guidance’s slaying
“I think it’s a mockery!”
Those were the sentiments of a murder victim’s sister, Janice Godwin, moments after a Cumberland County Superior Court jury found the killer guilty of voluntary manslaughter.
The man, Melvin Kevin Shrieves, 23, had been accused of first-degree murder in the March 14, 2004 stabbing death of DeTrace Mercer, who was a guidance counselor at Parkton School. If convicted, he could have been sentenced to death.
Law officers said Mr. Mercer was stabbed 10 times with a knife Mr. Shrieves had on him, including five wounds in the back. Mr. Mercer was left to bleed to death in a wooded area after Mr. Shrieves stole his pick-up truck and fled the scene.
Mr. Shrieves drove the truck during a chase through Massey Hill, after a Fayetteville policeman attempted to stop him for a traffic violation. That chase ended when he crashed the vehicle into a building. He was not hurt, although he was covered in blood when arrested.
The jury deliberated over two days before reaching its verdict of voluntary manslaughter. Mr. Shrieves was also found guilty of numerous traffic offenses, but innocent of robbery charges for stealing the truck. Instead, he was found guilty of taking the vehicle without Mr. Mercer’s permission.
Mr. Shrieves was sentenced on the voluntary manslaughter charges to serve no less than five years and no more than eight years in prison. He was ordered to serve no more less than six months and no more than eight months on the driving charges. That sentence will be served at the end of the longer term. He will be given credit for time already served awaiting trial.