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.