Man serving time for rape, kidnapping seeks freedom

By: Ken Lemon

Updated:

SHELBY, N.C. - A woman was raped, kidnapped and forced into the woods, then shot, and now the ringleader of that disturbing crime is asking for a new sentence because he was only 16 years old at the time.

The 1997 crime comitted by Travis McCord stunned and frightened people in Shelby.

"It was such a horrendous thing that happened,” resident Shiela Hyslip said. “Nothing like that happened in a long time, or as far as I remember, any time."

McCord and three codefendants forced their way into a woman's motel room and robbed her at gunpoint. McCord then raped her.

She was bound and driven to a secluded road in Cleveland County.

McCord shot her and forced the co-defendants to shoot her, too, according to court documents.

Hyslip lived near that hotel and said people in town won't forget that crime.

"Everybody was concerned,” she said. “They started locking their doors. They started walking their children home from school."

She said some people bought guns.

She was disappointed that McCord wants to get out of his life sentence and out of prison.

"He should serve his time,” she said. “He shouldn't even have a chance to argue about it."

He has the right to appeal because the Supreme Court said convicts younger than 18 are too young to automatically receive a life sentence without review.

"Life without the possibility of parole is not always the appropriate punishment," defense attorney David Teddy said.

Teddy represented one of McCord's co-defendants, who is already out of prison.

He said all of them were young and the court takes age into consideration.

"The development of the brain at 16 is much different, and the... decision-making process is much different."

It has taken weeks for McCord to get a court-appointed attorney.

"It’s taking too long," McCord told the judge Friday.

The judge appointed a new attorney.

Teddy said often in cases like this, the person convicted will get a reduced sentence.

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