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Mecklenburg Prosecutor Plans More Murder Trials

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File photo of a gavel in a courtroom.  (Credit: Thinkstock)

File photo of a gavel in a courtroom. (Credit: Thinkstock)

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CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) — The chief prosecutor in Mecklenburg County says he hopes to try more murder cases this year.

District Attorney Andrew Murray said Monday his office plans to try almost twice as many homicide cases this year compared with 2013.

Murray said he hopes to try 26 cases this year.

He says he’s received permission for more judges for trials this year. Murray says he’ll team members of his homicide team with assistant district attorneys who usually handle other cases.

He says the goal of the new steps is simple, “justice for the defendant, for the victim and the victim’s family, and justice for the community, which obviously deserves our best efforts.”

Public defender Kevin Tully questions whether Murray should focus on murder cases as opposed to other types of crime in order to make the community safer.

“As opposed to being tough on crime, are we being smart on crime?” Tully said.

Charlotte-Mecklenburg police investigated 58 homicides last year.

Murray tried 14 murder cases in 2013.

Murray said when he took office three years ago, he inherited 162 active murder cases. He hopes to get that down to 100 cases.

Currently 117 cases are pending.

(© Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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