The judge who presided over a hearing Tuesday to determine whether Eric Campbell should continue to face the death penalty said it was premature to issue such a ruling until closer to the trial.
Campbell, 23, is accused of murder, arson, robbery and other charges related to the killings of Jerome and Dora Faulkner of Granville County on Dec. 31, 2014.
Campbell was arrested in West Virginia in early 2015, after the Faulkners were brutally stabbed and killed, and their home near Oak Hill was torched. Jury selection in his trial is set to begin on Feb. 27.
Prosecutors have said Campbell was part of a father-and-son team who selected the retirees at random while on the run from Texas authorities.
Never miss a local story.
Eric Alexander Campbell is the son of Edward Campbell, who died in March 2015 at age 54 when officials at Central Prison found him unresponsive in his cell after he had attempted to hang himself.
In a court document associated with the hearing in front of Judge Henry Hight in Granville County Superior Court, Amos Tyndall, a Chapel Hill attorney representing the younger Campbell, and William Durham, a lawyer with the Center for Death Penalty Litigation, provided details of a multi-state crime spree in which Eric Campbell reportedly was so afraid of his father that he could not extricate himself from his grip.
The defense team described Edward Campbell as a tyrannical parent who abused drugs and manufactured methamphetamines, held his children upside down and beat them, shot the family dog and beat his wife so viciously that she escaped him late one night while he slept.
The defense also asked for a change of venue in the case, but the judge rejected that request.