Man on trial after DNA links him to 2005 double murder
CONWAY, SC (WMBF) - A second man is on trial this week for a double murder in Horry County in April, 2005. Solicitor Greg Hembree said Bruce Antwain Hill was linked to the case by DNA evidence four years after those murders.
Another man has already been convicted for the murders. Richard Gagnon was charged, and a jury convicted him in 2008.
Gagnon is now serving a life sentence for the murders of Charlie and Diane Parker, who died of gunshot wounds inside their home on Highway 90, just south of Highway 22.
Hembree said Hill is from Tabor City, NC, but he was arrested in Tennessee on robbery charges. Hill was being admitted to prison in 2009 when a sample of his DNA was taken and put into a national database. Hembree said Hill's DNA matched DNA investigators put into the database in 2005 after collecting it at the crime scene.
Hill's trial began Monday. Jury selection was finished by 2:30 p.m., and attorneys finished their opening statements by the end of the day also. Testimony is scheduled to begin Tuesday.
Vivian Skipper lives near the home where the Parkers were murdered, and she said Monday she has been interested in the case since it began. She said the crime and trial from 2005 to 2008 got a lot of attention.
"When Richard Gagnon went on trial for the murders of Charlie and Dianne Parker Court TV was down here broadcasting from the courtroom live," Skipper said.
Skipper said everyone seemed interested because people in the community had known the victims for decades.
She does not think Hill's trial has gotten nearly as much attention, which she believes is unfortunate. She actually believes Gagnon was wrongfully convicted. She said others disagree with her, but she feels the prosecution has now charged the right man.
"I hope the truth will come out," Skipper said. "We need the truth, and we need justice."
Prosecutors claim the men worked together and are both responsible.
They originally charged Diane Parker's daughter with involvement in the murders. She was dating Gagnon at the time. The prosecution later dropped those charges, saying there was not enough evidence to convict her.
"I think the whole community is interested in what happens in this trial, and I'm sure the family members are," Skipper said.
Copyright 2011 WMBF News. All rights reserved.