Witness testimony continues Wednesday in Brunswick first-degree murder trial

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Montey Andrea Murray
Montey Andrea Murray

The first-degree murder trial of a 29-year-old Wilmington man will continue Wednesday in Brunswick County with testimony from a State’s witness who was granted immunity last week.

Jesse Holt, 37, and the defendant Montey Andrea Murray–charged with the March 2012 death of a 3-year-old Jaronn McAllister—were both in the apartment the night the child suffered blunt force trauma, which led to his death.

When Holt took the stand Thursday, he invoked his Fifth Amendment right ensuring one’s due process and protecting against self-incrimination. Superior Court Judge Ola Lewis ordered that Holt testify, offering him immunity in exchange for his testimony, in accordance with state law.

Holt gave conflicting reports on the witness stand Thursday about what he recalled from the night of Feb. 29, 2012, and the morning of March 1, 2012.

Candice Young—Jaronn’s mother—also testified last week in the State’s case against Murray. She testified to the events before and after she left Jaronn in Murray’s care to work third shift as a dispatcher in Wilmington.

Murray is facing charges of first-degree murder and felony child abuse resulting in serious injury or death. He also faces two counts of assault with a deadly weapon on a government official and fleeing to elude arrest, which stemmed from a vehicle chase on March 1, 2012, when law enforcement pursued Murray’s vehicle on U.S. 17 near Shallotte.

Murray has been in custody at the Brunswick County Detention Center since March 2012 on charges of assault with a deadly weapon on a government official and fleeing to elude arrest. He was indicted on the first-degree murder charge and felony child abuse in August 2013.

Assistant District Attorneys Lee Bollinger and Quintin McGee are representing the State. Defense attorney James Payne is representing Murray in the case.

Testimony from State’s witnesses will continue at 9:30 a.m. Wednesday in Brunswick County Superior Court.

Check back for more updates from the courtroom.

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Christina Haley is a crime reporter at Port City Daily. Reach her at (910) 772-6337 or Christina.h@portcitydaily.com.