State to seek death penalty against double murder suspect

Double murder suspect to learn whether he'll face death penalty

CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- The state will be seeking the death penalty against a double murder suspect, accused of assaulting his wife then killing her parents.

The announcement came after prosecutors delayed in September, saying they were still working to determine if the death penalty will be on the table when the trial begins.

Vurnel Smith Jr. was arrested on August 1 when he surrendered to Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police, ending a nearly week-long manhunt.

RELATED: Still no decision on death penalty for man accused of slaying wife's parents

CMPD first learned of the crime while responding to a call at CMC-University on July 27 regarding a woman that was attacked. The victim told police that Smith attacked her and said her parents were in grave danger. Investigators later determined that Smith murdered Jacqueline White-Gordon, 65, and Rufus Gordon, 69, on July 25, two days before the surviving victim alerted police.

Police made the shocking discovery of Rufus Gordon’s body in the trunk of the car driven to the hospital by his daughter. White-Gordon’s body was found inside the couple’s home on Red Clay Lane in north Charlotte.

Smith is facing several charges in connection with the incident, including two counts of murder, as well as felony forcible rape. If convicted, Smith could face 12 years to life on both murder charges and 12 years to life for rape. During his first court appearance, a judge denied Smith bond, saying he was too big of a threat to be in the community.

In 2015, Smith was arrested in Kannapolis for allegedly breaking into a home and raping the victim. 

Smith's "first setting" hearing is scheduled for January 25, 2018.

© 2017 WCNC.COM


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