RALEIGH — A Wake County jury found a Holly Springs man guilty of voluntary manslaughter in the 2012 stabbing death of a man portrayed by prosecutors as a good Samaritan who had stopped to see if anyone was injured in a car crash.
The verdict in the case against Samuel Gideon, 36, came after nearly two days of deliberations in a trial that led to the defendant being thrown out of the courtroom during closing arguments.
The jury considered the possibilities of second-degree murder, voluntary manslaughter and involuntary manslaughter in the fatal stabbing on Jan. 15, 2012, of Eleazar B. Herrera.
Prosecutors contended that Herrera, 20, was on his way home from a party with his cousins early that January morning when he stopped on New Hope Road, where a GMC Envoy was wrecked near the Wallingford Drive intersection.
The Envoy had been stolen, according to testimony, and the men who stole it had wrecked the truck and fled the scene.
Gideon and Christopher Todd Rochelle were there when Herrera stopped.
Prosecutors contend there was an argument and Gideon attacked Herrera. Rochelle also is accused in the case.
Defense attorney Tommy Manning contended that Herrera was not the Samaritan prosecutors portrayed. He argued that Herrera was drunk and angry when he stopped, accusing Gideon and Rochelle of nearly hitting his car on an earlier occasion.
Manning contended that Gideon acted in self defense.
Assistant District Attorney David Saacks said Herrera did not have a weapon and brought witnesses forward to testify to that.
Gideon was thrown out of the courtroom during Saacks closing arguments after he yelled at the prosecutor. Judge Orlando Hudson, a Durham judge working in Wake County this month, allowed Gideon to return before the jury began its deliberations.
Gideon apologized for his outburst.
Though jurors were present for the outburst, the judge told them not to consider that during their deliberations. Jurors were not in the courtroom for the apology.
Gideon was sentenced to a minimum of 8.75 years in prison, with credit for time served. He said he will appeal the verdict.