9 Investigates: New questions raised over Conover man's murder conviction

The death of a young woman from 12 years ago is receiving new attention.

Robert Lane Windsor was sentenced to life in prison in 2008 after being convicted of killing his ex-girlfriend Stepheny White, but he still insists he’s not guilty.

The crime took place in 2005 in White’s trailer off Goshawk Lane in Conover.

Prosecutors said that White was asphyxiated, Windsor put her body in the trunk of her car and drove around for five days and the car was found abandoned along I-77 in Charlotte.

“Did you kill Stepheny Jo White?” reporter Glenn Counts asked Windsor during a prison interview.

“No. No. Absolutely not,” Windsor responded.

Windsor’s family has hired private investigator Alex Vinson in the hopes of getting a new trial.

“It’s an uphill battle,” said White’s mother Linda Taylor.

Vinson is a retired Charlotte-Mecklenburg police homicide detective and has found some significant holes in the finding of the medical examiner, Dr. Thomas Owens, who is the chief medical examiner in Mecklenburg County and performed the autopsy.

White’s body was found with her head in a plastic bag tightly secured by duct tape wrapped around her neck, authorities said.

(Stepheny White)

A neighbor testified at trial that she heard noises coming from White’s trailer.

Prosecutors suggested that this is when White was fighting for her life, but when deputies entered her trailer, they saw no signs of a struggle.

Owens also testified there was no hemorrhaging around White’s neck and there was nothing on her body that showed cuts, bruises, scratches, blunt force trauma, sharp force trauma or a gunshot.

None of the prosecutors or investigators would talk on camera about the case, except for Sgt. Bart Loudermilk who was the lead detective at the time.

Loudermilk said he was 100 percent certain that Windsor was guilty and that White fought for her life.

Counts asked Loudermilk why she had no sign of injury or why there was no sign of a fight inside her home and he declined to answer.

When Counts interviewed Windsor at Lanesboro Correctional Institution, he wasn’t exactly forthcoming either.

(Robert Windsor)

“I know there was no sign of forced entry. Her place was disheveled. There was no sign of any kind of injury to her whatsoever,” Windsor said.

“So I’m asking you, what did happen?” Counts asked.

“All I know, we have since tried to meet with the medical examiner,” Windsor answered.

A toxicology report was never done, so it’s not clear if White was under the influence of an impairing substance.

Two pathologists have taken strong issue with Owens findings and left open the possibility that White died from natural causes.

Even when asked if the bag was over White’s head while she was alive and breathing, Owens said he couldn’t know for absolute certainty.

“Were you in her presence when she passed away?” Counts questioned.

“I don’t know that I should answer that,” Windsor said.

Windsor said he was high at the time of White’s death, and that he went on a drug binge afterwards.

He admitted that his actions make him look guilty and said he didn’t call the police because he panicked.

Windsor took the stand during his trial, but clearly the jury didn’t believe him.

But his mother hopes he gets to take his case before a different jury.

“I just hope I can succeed before I’m gone,” Taylor said.

During the time of Counts’ interview, Windsor was at the prison in Anson County. But within two weeks he was moved to a different prison east of Goldsboro. When Channel 9 asked why, the Department of Corrections would not comment.