The trial against 20-year-old Chauncey Sterling will start June 10 when attorneys begin to pick a jury in the first-degree murder case.
Sterling, then 18, was charged in 2011 with the murder of 64-year-old Robert Barber, a SouthPark resident and executive with the Carolinas HealthCare System. Barber was walking home on Mullens Ford Road on April 22, 2011, when police say Sterling tried to rob him. The two scuffled, and Barber was shot twice. Police said the incident was a random occurrence and Barber was not targeted for any specific reason.
Police said Sterling, of Rock Hill, S.C., was in Charlotte visiting family at the time of the incident but had gone out “looking for someone to rob,” according to Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department Chief Rodney Monroe.
District attorneys announced in July 2011 they would not seek the death penalty against Sterling, citing his age – then 18 – and cooperation detectives had received from his family, which led to Sterling’s arrest a few days after the shooting. Sterling also did not have a criminal record prior to the shooting, which prosecutors also took into account, they said in 2011.
Sterling pleaded not guilty in March 2012. If he is convicted of first-degree murder, Sterling could spend the rest of his life in jail without the possibility of parole.
Jury selection will begin June 10. Officials familiar with the case say the process should take a few days instead of the week or more seen in some first-degree murder trials. Opening statements will follow once a jury is
Jury selection will take place in room 5370 at the Mecklenburg County Courthouse, 832 E. 4th St.
Barber was survived by his wife, Debbie, and sons Eric and Brian Hartley. District attorneys said in 2011 they had discussed not seeking the death penalty with the family and that they understood the decision.
South Charlotte Weekly will provide continuing coverage of the trial once it begins. For more information, go to www.thecharlotteweekly.com and search keywords “Chauncey Sterling.”