Jury begins deliberation in trial of man accused of killing UNC professor

Troy Arrington Jr. and Feng Liu


HILLSBOROUGH, N.C. (WNCN) — The jury charged with deciding the fate of a man charged in the 2014 beating death of a UNC-Chapel Hill professor and cancer researcher didn’t reach a verdict Wednesday after three hours of deliberating.

UPDATE: Man found guilty of murder in UNC professor’s 2014 beating death

They’re expected to resume deliberating Thursday.

Troy Arrington Jr., 30, is one of two men charged with first-degree murder in the 2014 death of Feng Lieu.

Liu, 59, was a cancer researcher and professor at UNC who was attacked, robbed and killed near the UNC campus on a July afternoon in 2014.

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“I’ll ask you to return verdicts of guilty of first-degree murder based on premeditation and deliberation, and first-degree murder based on the felony murder rule,” said Jim Woodall, Orange County’s district attorney. “Both apply in this case.”

Prosecutors believe Liu was attacked with a rock, which ultimately caused his death.

“I don’t think there’s any question in anybody’s mind that this can be used as a dangerous, deadly weapon,” Woodall said, holding a rock similar to the one authorities believe was used to kill Liu.

Derick Davis has also been charged, but is being tried separately.

Arrington’s attorney, James Williams, asked the jury to consider the charges of both men separately.

“There has been really I submit, no concrete evidence from which we can find that Troy Arrington and Derick Davis engaged in a common purpose, to commit first-degree murder,” said Williams.

Rebutting the arguments put forward by Woodall, Williams asked the jury to be as sure as possible of their decision.

“When you’re talking about a decision that could send a person to prison for the rest of their lives, you should try to get to as close (to) beyond all doubt as possible,” he said.

“Beating someone in the head with a rock is not something that happens in that split second,” said Woodall. “You’ve got to pick the rock up, premeditation, take that rock and deliberately hit professor Liu in the head again and again.”

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