• Convicted killer wants speedy retrial in other murder case

    By: Ken Lemon

    Updated:

    GASTON COUNTY - Danny Hembree, convicted of killing two women and accused in the killing of a third woman, was back in the Gaston County Courthouse Monday.
     
    About one year ago, the state Supreme Court overturned Hembree's conviction for the slaying of Heather Catterton.
     
    They said prosecutors used too much evidence from the murder of Randy Saldana, to which he pleaded guilty, even though the cases were similar.
     
    Hembree said Monday if he has to wait for a retrial the charges should be dismissed.
     
    Hembree confessed to three murders and is imprisoned for two, and he defiantly spoke Monday of justice for himself.

    Six years ago he confessed to killing Catterton. He showed police how he choked her in his Gastonia home, left the body in there and then dumped it in a rural road in York County.
     
    He told police days after that he did the same to Randi Saldana.
     
    He pleaded guilty to the second degree murder of Saldana. Jurors found Hembree guilty of Catterton's murder and sent him to death row but the state Supreme Court overturned that conviction.

    The district attorney announced Monday he plans to retry the case in September of 2017.

    "His schedule doesn't have anything to do with my rights," Hembree said. “The law should be enforced and the case should be dismissed."

    District Attorney Locke Bell said he and his assistant have at least five more murder trials that have to be heard first.
     
    Hebree claimed it’s political.
     
    "Those trials or publicity for his reelection shouldn't come into play at all," Hembree said.
     
    Hembree claimed his attorney should be ready and said if that doesn’t happen, he will represent himself.
     
    Hembree has to serve a sentence of 26 years in prison for the murder of Saldana.  

    That sentence is part of a murder plea so having it overturned would be difficult. The DA doesn't plan to charge him for the third murder to which he confessed.
     


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