OXFORD, NORTH CAROLINA — The deaths of Jerome Faulkner, 73, and his wife Dora, 62, on December 31, 2014, were as brutal as they were random. Now one of the men charged with their murders is trying to get the death penalty taken off of his potential sentencing list. The suspect’s strategy seems to be to blame everything on his dead father.
Eric Alexander Campbell, who was just 21 at the time of the murders, and his father, Edward Campbell, 52, had set off from their Texas home on a multi-state crime spree that didn’t end until they reached West Virginia.
The duo hit North Carolina on New Years’s Eve. According to Eric, that’s when his father spotted Jerome Faulkner emptying his mailbox, and declared he was going to rob this stranger.
According to Eric, the father and son hid out in a nearby wooded area until dusk. Edward then reportedly walked to the Faulkners’ front door and knocked. When Jerome answered, Eric said that his father sprayed him in the face with lye. He allegedly then burst into the house and attacked Dora as well.
Eric said he could hear the couple’s screams and that his father then somehow forced him to come into the Faulkners’ home. Once inside, Edward ordered Eric to look for financial documents.
The younger Campbell says he saw Jerome and Dora injured on the floor, and that his father first beat and then stabbed the victims with a spear he had been carrying, while demanding their banking information. Edward Campbell reportedly also killed the couple’s two dogs before murdering Jerome and Dora with the weapon.
From there, Eric states that he and Edward loaded the Faulkners’ bodies into the couple’s Chevy Silverado pickup truck, which the father and son drove off in after setting the victims’ home on fire.
With the Faulkner’s house blazing behind them, the Campbells drove to West Virginia. The next day, police captured the father and son following a shootout. Investigators discovered the Faulkners’ remains in the back of the truck, hidden under a mattress.
In March 2015, Edward Campbell committed suicide behind bars. As a result, only Eric Campbell is standing trial for the crimes.
In the latest motions before the court, Eric told authorities that his father was a drug addict and methamphetamine manufacturer who had violently and psychologically abused him for years. The accused murderer says he accompanied Edward on the deadly run only out of total terror for his own life.
Eric also points out that he was diagnosed with ADHD as a child and given a prescription for Adderall — which Edward stole for his meth business.
The December spree kicked off after Edward Campbell flew into a rage as he accused Holly Campbell, his wife, of cheating on him. Edward allegedly threatened to shoot Holly in front of their children, and held her hostage for hours — beating and choking her all the while. Police eventually intervened and arrested Edward.
After he got out of jail on bond, Edward and Eric allegedly stole a 2007 Chevy Suburban from a local school. The father supposedly told his son they were going camping.
Prosecutors have made it clear that they want capital punishment on the table as a potential sentence for Eric Campbell. After these latest filings, that decision is entirely in the hands of the judge. Edward Campbell already took the coward’s way out.
WTVD brings us this report:
Main photos: Eric Campell in court; inset: Jerome and Dora Faulkner [Oxford Police Department WTVD news video (screenshot)]