Murder trial under way in Windsor

Published 8:47 am Thursday, September 29, 2011

WINDSOR – An Edgecombe County murder case is currently being tried in Windsor.

Standing trial is Antwan Pittman, who is accused of the murder of Taraha Nicholson in 2009. In addition to being charged in that case, Pittman is a suspect in other deaths in Edgecombe County. The Administrative Office of the Courts moved the case to Bertie County following a pre-trial request based on the amount of publicity the case had received in Edgecombe County.

“Normally what will happen is the defense will request a change of venue because of publicity,” Bertie County Clerk of Superior Court John C.P. Tyler said. “They try to keep the place reasonably close, but somewhere the newspapers would not have general circulation.

“In this case, we did not have Superior Court scheduled for this week so they assigned it here,” Tyler added.

While the case is being tried in Windsor and the jury is picked locally, the court room is a mixture of Bertie County and Edgecombe County personnel.

Judicial District 6B Resident Superior Court Judge Cy Grant is overseeing the case, but it is being tried by the District Attorney Robert Evans of the 7th Judicial District. District 7 is also providing court clerks for the trial.

Bertie County Sheriff John Holley is providing the courthouse security. He said it was the correct thing to do and that he wanted to show his appreciation to Edgecombe County Sheriff James L. Knight.

“My officers are in charge of court as far as opening the session, taking care of jurors and just keeping it secure,” Holley said. “We would have done that to help out any agency, but we’re particularly happy to help Edgecombe County.

“When we were going through the floods and tornadoes, Sheriff Knight was one of the main people that supplied deputies to help us,” Holley said. “He sent three, four and sometimes five deputies every day to help our citizens. To me, this is a chance to show gratitude for all they did for the citizens of Bertie County.”

Tyler said the trial had not caused any major issues for Bertie County, only a few scheduling conflicts. Three courts were scheduled for Wednesday, but one of them was simply moved to the Bertie County Commissioners room.

As for the length of the trial, Tyler said he didn’t know, but that his experience would lead him to believe it would last into next week. He said he thought the case would continue at least through Tuesday or Wednesday.