SENTENCING: Life In Prison For Shelton Mills

A jury decided Tuesday against the death penalty for a man accused of killing two Pitt County people in 2007.

Jurors took less than three hoursTuesday to sentence Shelton Mills to life in prison without parole.

Shelton Mills was convicted last Tuesday for the deaths of Cylvonnia Preddy and Robert Bizzell, Jr. in August 2007.

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A Pitt County jury is now deciding this afternoon whether a man should be put to death for killing two people.

Shelton Mills was convicted last Tuesday for the deaths of Cylvonnia Preddy and Robert Bizzell, Jr. in August 2007. That same jury on Friday agreed that Mills was not mentally retarded and was eligible for the death penalty.

His lawyers had argued that because his I.Q. is 71 Mills instead should receive life in prison. Anyone who has an I.Q. of 70 or below is not eligible for the death penalty in North Carolina.

Jurors began their deliberations shortly before 12:30 p.m.

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A Pitt County jury, which earlier this week found Shelton Mills guilty of killing two people, now says the man is not mentally retarded.

Jurors convicted Mills Tuesday in the deaths of Cylvonnia Preddy and Robert Bizzell, Jr. in August 2007.

They deliberated about 90 minutes Friday afternoon and must now decide whether the man now receives the death penalty or life in prison.

Prosecutors told jurors this morning that Mills' attorneys could not prove the man is mentally retarded because, according to the law, Mills would have to have an I.Q. of 70 and below.

Experts have testified the man has a 71 I.Q. and Mills' attorneys said psychologists testified this week that he is not eligible for the death penalty.

Jurors will return Tuesday morning to continue their deliberations.

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Testimony wrapped up Thursday afternoon for the sentencing phase of the Shelton Mills double murder trial. Jurors convicted Mills of killing his ex-girlfriend Cylvonnia Preddy and Robert Bizzell Junior making him eligible for the death penalty. First, jurors must decide if he's mentally retarded.

Defense attorneys called psychologist James Hilkey to the stand Thursday. Doctor Hilkey says Mills is mildly mentally retarded and also suffers from several other mental disorders. He says the difference between Mills, whose IQ is 71, and someone who is legally mentally retarded with an IQ of 70 is negligible. He says Mills' mental illnesses make expressing sadness difficult.

"He expressed sorrow for the Preddy and Bizzell families. But in attempts to follow up later in the interview, there was a denial he said it. So dealing with emotion and affect are very difficult things for Mr. Mills," said Dr. Hilkey

Closing arguments begin Friday morning. If jurors decide Mills is mentally retarded, he'll spend the rest of his life in prison. If they decide he's not, they will deliberate again, to consider the death penalty.

A jury that will have to decide if the man they convicted of killing his girlfriend and her boyfriend will face the death penalty, heard testimony Wednesday about his mental health.

The jury convicted Shelton Mills Tuesday in the deaths of Cylvonnia Preddy and Robert Bizzell, Jr. in August 2007.

Jurors heard testimony from a psychologist about Mills' mental health, as defense attorneys try to make their case Mills is mentally retarded, and his life should be spared.

Dr. Roger Moore, Jr. testified after reviewing Mills records - he believes the difference between Mills - whose I.Q. is 71 - and someone who is legally mentally retarded with an I.Q. of 70 is so small it doesn't make a difference.

When testimony wraps up, jurors will have to decide whether they think Mills is mentally retarded. If they decide he's not, defense attorneys will present evidence as to why his life should be spared.


A Pitt County jury has found a man guilty of killing two people nearly four years ago.

The jury in the case of Shelton Mills came back around 11:30 a.m. with the guilty verdicts after deliberating about 3-1/2 hours over two days. Mills is guilty of two counts of 1st degree murder, first degree burglary and felon in possession of a firearm.

Prosecutors want the death penalty against Mills and that phase of the trial will begin this afternoon.

Mills was accused in the August 2007 deaths of Cylvonnia Preddy and her boyfriend, Robert Bizzell. The two were found dead in a home in Grifton and police said Mills was Preddy's ex-boyfriend.

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A jury resumed deliberations Tuesday morning whether a Pitt County man killed two people in Grifton nearly four years ago. Jurors were dismissed about 6:00 p.m. Monday after deliberating about 90 minutes.

Shelton Mills is accused of killing Cylvonnia Preddy and her boyfriend, Robert Bizzell, in August of 2007. The two were found dead in a home in Grifton and prosecutors are seeking the death penalty against Mills.

Police say Mills was Preddy's ex-boyfriend. Closing arguments took most of Monday. The state told jurors only three people know what really happened that night, and said Mills killed two of them, and should be convicted of first degree murder.

But Mills' defense attorneys argued his whole life has been marked with failure and loss. They say he's mentally retarded and didn't have the "intent" required to commit first degree murder.

Prosecutors reminded jurors that although Mills has an IQ of 71, a doctor testified he's able to make simple plans, and said the murder of Preddy and Bizzell was that kind of plan. "It is a very simple crime to carry out," said Assistant District Attorney Anthony Futrell. "It doesn't take a whole lot of planning to get a gun, drive to someone's house and shoot them both dead and walk out."

"If as a result of lack of mental capacity the defendant did not have the specific intent to kill the deceased formed after the premeditation or deliberation, the defendant is not guilty of first degree murder," defense attorney Allen Foster told jurors.

If jurors convict Mills of first degree murder, a separate sentencing phase will be held to determine if he'll face death or life in prison without parole.

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  • by you Location: greenville,n.c. on May 31, 2011 at 07:58 PM
    He did the crime now let him do his time.
  • by Life is Life on May 31, 2011 at 03:39 PM
    After 1994 in NC Life without parole is LIFE without parole. Unless he wins an appeal and is released on an appeal the only he will leave prison is in a box.
  • by Voter on May 31, 2011 at 02:31 PM
    Hope they understood that life in prision in NC is only 20 years.
    • reply
      by Anonymous on May 31, 2011 at 04:03 PM in reply to Voter
      You are wrong. Life in NC is until you die. Check you facts.
  • by 86 on May 31, 2011 at 01:34 PM
    This is the best thing. Although, I think the death penalty is the correct punishment for any capital murder case. The judicial system has turned swift justice into a circus. Lawyers make so much money on the appeals process that it gets in the way of swift justice and it falls on the wallets of the taxpayers. A lot more money than it takes to house one for a long period of time. Criminals of this nature should be put in a solitary underground. No visitors, reading materials, or television. Just a religious document of their choosing, whether it would be a bible, koran, or any other religious item or nothing if they are not religious. This way they will suffer for a long time and be miserable. Also, they will be underground just like their victims. It doesn't take a lot of money to build underground cells. Design them so they would have to crawl out of a cell door on the top. There is no way to dig out or escape. Just lower down food and toilet paper. Give them a toilet, lavatory, and shower. The water would be controlled by a timer. They all would shower at the same time. That's all they would get. They would never have to leave the cell. This way they could agonize over what they did. Remember, the people they killed are dead and the living family members have to deal with this for their life. This is true and cheap justice. Bless the victims and their families.
    • reply
      by Anonymous on May 31, 2011 at 04:06 PM in reply to 86
      Wow...You are a sick individual. What ever happened to forgiveness?
      • reply
        by 86 on May 31, 2011 at 06:31 PM in reply to
        Hey anonymous, go online and see how other countries treat their criminals. go to saudi arabia and steal something. you wil have no hands.
      • reply
        by Gray on Jun 1, 2011 at 05:55 AM in reply to
        Try forgiveness yourself when one of your family members has been brutally murdered... Then you tell me how sick you have to be to want this to happen!!
        • reply
          by Anonymous on Jun 1, 2011 at 04:51 PM in reply to Gray
          86---That's barbaric, not civilized. You ought to move to Saudi Arabia if you like there justice. They treat women very well. Gray-That's why we aren't allowed to be the judge in our own case. And I would try to forgive because killing another human won't bring the other person back.
    • reply
      by Chris on May 31, 2011 at 05:31 PM in reply to 86
      To go one better, have all grades of photos of their victims plastered all over the walls of the perp's cell. Maybe they will think about their crimes, if they have to look their victim's in the face all the time.
      • reply
        by Gray on Jun 1, 2011 at 05:56 AM in reply to Chris
        I like the way you talk Chris
    • reply
      by Gray on Jun 1, 2011 at 05:54 AM in reply to 86
      I like the way you talk 86... I wish this could happen also!!!
  • by Brandon Location: Greenville on May 31, 2011 at 01:17 PM
    It'll cost a lot more to feed/house this piece of scum for the next 30-40 years than it would be to buy a syringe of cyanide.
  • by Long Liver on May 31, 2011 at 11:04 AM
    He's already lived longer than he should have. I hope the jury can see that.
  • by Fact Bringer Location: Greenville on May 27, 2011 at 10:49 PM
    Regardless of case outcome, the notion that a jury decides the degree of intellectual impairment is ignorant. Trained professionals employ validated testing to make such determinations. Votes do not comprise truth- they rather comprise popular opinion. We need no American idol trials here. Evidence and only evidence, is worth consideration.
  • by Mickey Location: NC on May 27, 2011 at 06:37 PM
    Rebuttal to - Gray on May 27, 2011 at 06:35 PM. You Say " Cmon people let's not make everything about color " Then why is there Black College , and no White College?
    • reply
      by Fact Bringer on May 28, 2011 at 12:32 AM in reply to Mickey
      What are the societal categories in which you feel oppressed as a caucasian? I'd be interested in a reasoned argument about your oppression. Thanks.
    • reply
      by Gray on May 28, 2011 at 07:21 AM in reply to Mickey
      Can't answer that question, maybe that is something you need to take up with the Powers to Be. Unfortunately my statement still stands> I also say let's began at home to raise our children as non racist indivuals. If that is the only question you have from my statement, maybe you are a culprit of racist thinking. Now run and tell that. There is only one race I see (the Human Race)
  • by Anonymous on May 27, 2011 at 01:47 PM
    GOOD!!!! That's the way it oughta be!
  • by ace Location: j ville on May 27, 2011 at 11:31 AM
    If you are sane or crazy and you kill someone you should be put to death. Why keep the idiots alive and kill sane people. If they are crazy and kill someone then they do not care if they are put to death.
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