Jury selection in drive-by murder trial to begin Monday

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By Staff Brunswick Beacon

BOLIVIA—Jury selection for a murder trial in which a Calabash man was killed in a 2008 drive-by shooting began Monday afternoon in Brunswick County Superior Court.

Matthew Lee Baber, 28, of Sunset Beach, has been charged with murder, felony conspiracy and discharging a weapon into an occupied dwelling or moving vehicle.

Baber is represented by Shallotte attorney James Payne. Assistant district attorneys Lee Bollinger and Caitlin Richards are representing the state, and Superior Court Judge Christopher Bragg is presiding.

According to a May 2008 Brunswick Beacon article, Baber was one of two men arrested in May 2008, charged with the murder of a 28-year-old Calabash man.

Baber and Norman Elliot Simmons, 27, of Ash, were charged in connection with the murder of James Allen Murdock.

Police found Murdock in a car on Pineclair Drive near Calabash just before 10 p.m. May 8, 2008. He was dead from an apparent drive-by shooting.

Although investigators believed it was a drive-by, sheriff’s office Lt. Sam Davis said it was not a random shooting—Murdock was the apparent target.

“We feel like this was directed at him,” Davis previously said.

At the time, however, Davis declined to say how many shots were fired or where Murdock was shot, citing the on-going nature of the investigation.

At press time Tuesday, jury selection was still under way.

Caroline Curran is a staff writer at The Brunswick Beacon. Reach her at 754-6890 or by email at ccurran@brunswickbeacon.com.