First murder trial since pandemic starts Monday

Tucker Rector (CCSO photo)
Tucker Rector (CCSO photo)

The first murder trial in Columbus County in more than a year begins Monday as the man accused of the brutal slaying of a senior citizen goes to court.

Travis Mackenzie Rector, 24, is charged with the first degree murder of Edward Earl Davis, 82. The killing occurred in March 2020.

The sheriff’s office said a family member went to check on Davis on March 16, 2020, after being unable to get Davis on the telephone. The relative called 911 after finding the door to Davis’ Green Swamp Road home ajar.

The call initially came in as a missing persons report, but deputies found “a large amount of blood” in the back yard of the home. Deputies and investigators scoured the area, talking to neighbors and individuals in the area. Through the investigation, the sheriff’s office identified Rector as a person of interest.

Rector, who also lived on Green Swamp Road, was contacted by deputies and interviewed, according to the sheriff’s office. Rector provided some pertinent details that led investigators to obtain a search warrant on Rector’s home. “Vital pieces” of evidence were discovered in the home.

Investigators and the Vice/Narcotics Division found Davis’ body in a wooded area off Old Lake Road near Bolton. Rector was arrested March 16 and charged with murder.

Asst. District Attorney Jacob Ward is handling the case for the District Attorney’s Office. Paul Mediratta of Wilmington is defending Rector before Superior Court Judge Greg  Bell. 

Jury trials were shut down in March 2020 when the pandemic was declared. At the time, jury selection was underway for James R. McKamey, charged in the 2016 stabbing death of Carol Greer in the yard of her Whiteville home. That case was moved to Bladen County due to pre-trial publicity. Greer was a beloved music teacher in Whiteville for many years. 

Mckamey allegedly assaulted a neighbor of Greer’s after catching a ride with the woman from Columbus Regional. The intended victim fought back, but was seriously injured. Investigators said McKamey then fled through the woman’s yard and over a hedge, where he encountered Greer in her yard. He is alleged to have killed Greer then taken her car. McKamey and a female were arrested driving Greer’s Subaru station wagon in Brunswick County several days later. The woman was not charged.  McKamey faces the death penalty if convicted in that case.

  • Crystal Faircloth

    Crystal Faircloth • Photographs

    Have you ever found yourself cleaning out the closet and happen upon a box of old pictures you forgot you had? Your hand grazes the dust to find those ancient treasures from long ago that [Read More]
  • Front Page

    Boating Safety Encouraged

    National Safe Boating Week, as proclaimed by Governor Roy Cooper, is May 21 – 27 and officials with the N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission say that safety should be a top priority when recreating on water. The agency [Read More]
  • The group creating the city's flood print iwill return to downtown Whiteville Thursday. (WDDC graphic)
    Front Page

    Flood Study Group Returns Thursday

    See related story here: Whiteville Downtown Development announced today that the NCSU Coastal Dynamics Design Lab (CDDL) will be back in the city Thursday as part of the ongoing flood print study. On this [Read More]
  • Florence rain
    Front Page

    Hurricane Season Expected to be Busy

    Related story: Flood Study Group Returns Thursday Hurricane season officially begins June 1, and federal weather forecasters are calling for the seventh busy season in a row. There’s a 65 percent chance of an above [Read More]
  • James Edward Coleman

    James Edward Coleman

    James Edward Coleman, age 76, of Chadbourn, NC, died Monday, May 23, 2022 in the Regency Hospital of Florence.  Born June 26, 1945, he was the son of the late T.C. Coleman and Nola Bell [Read More]
About Jefferson Weaver 1143 Articles
Jefferson Weaver is the managing editor of and news director for WTXY radio. He can be reached at 910.632.4965, or by email at