LUMBERTON — A Pembroke man was given two life sentences Monday for the 2009 murder of a sheriff’s detective’s sister and her teenage daughter.
Luther Wilton Locklear, 36, entered his plea in Superior Court and will be jailed at central prison in Raleigh. During a tearful apology to the victims’ family, he blamed drugs.
Locklear was charged with two counts of first-degree murder in the deaths of 51-year-old Delilah Locklear, and her daughter, 13-year-old Erica Locklear, on July 12, 2009.
Luther Locklear lived near Delilah Locklear and was a friend of her son, according to District Attorney Johnson Britt.
“He was a kid that didn’t have a whole lot of support. So the Strickland family and the Locklear family … kind of took care of him,” Britt said.
Delilah Locklear, who was disabled, was the sister of Detective Reggle Strickland, who works with the Robeson County Sheriff’s Office. Erica Locklear was a student at Pembroke Middle School.
Their bodies were discovered in their Lonnie Farm Road mobile home after a fire was reported there. Autopsies showed that they died of stab wounds before the fire broke out. Luther Locklear was not charged with arson.
Britt said the two were not targeted because of their relation to Strickland.
Luther Locklear was in a Cumberland County jail awaiting trial on charges of second-degree kidnapping, robbery, assault with a deadly weapon, and larceny after breaking and entering when he was arrested. He has since been transferred between there and Robeson County because he had a relative, Otoma Locklear, who was incarcerated at the Robeson County jail and because of the victims’ relation to Strickland.
Luther Locklear became a suspect in the case after authorities learned he and Otoma Locklear had robbed and stabbed someone they were buying drugs from, Britt said. A knife matching the description of one stolen from Luther Locklear’s grandmother’s home was also found in Delilah Locklear’s backyard and a pick axe similar to one missing from his work truck was found in the home.
When confronted about the robbery and the break-in, Luther Locklear confessed, Britt said, but denied any knowledge of the murders.
“Ultimately DNA is what tied him to the commission of the crimes,” Britt said.
Britt said it was the Strickland family that agreed to let Luther Locklear enter a plea and avoid a trial, which was scheduled for October.
“As they all said yesterday in court, they have forgiven Luther for what he had done,” Britt said. “They are a group of remarkable people.”
Britt said Luther Locklear may have otherwise faced the death penalty.
“When he was given the opportunity to speak he actually turned and faced the Strickland family and their friends and he apologized for what he had done. He didn’t sugar coat it … he broke down and cried. He ultimately blames it on cocaine and alcohol,” Britt said.
Judge Robert F. Floyd presided over the court and Luther Locklear was represented by attorneys Rick Miller and Kevin Peters.