At a pretrial hearing that stretched all day, the man accused of killing Roger Lee Shifflett 21 years ago argued that the length of time between the slaying and the trial violates his Constitutional rights to due process.
Alvin “Butch” Morris was charged in May 2008 with the murder of Shifflett, who was found shot execution style
early June 20, 1988, at the Southwind Gas and Grocery on Route 20 that he and his wife Barbara co-owned and that he usually opened before heading to his job with Norfolk Southern Railroad.
Barbara Shifflett Morris, who later married the man accused of killing her husband
, and her mother, Mildred Haney, took the stand and demonstrated how faulty their memories were of the day the father of five was brutally slain at the store where they all worked.
Haney, who closed out the register and took the money home every night, initially was unable to recall talking to police after Roger Shifflett was found dead. She later acknowledged that she had gotten a call to bring a key and the cash drawer.
Barbara Morris, a secretary at Stone Robinson Elementary School, couldn’t remember whether she wrote the employees’ work schedule or told them verbally, and seemed uncertain who did the payroll. “I believe I did,” she said in Albemarle Circuit Court.
Haney and Morris testified that all the store’s records were burned
around 2004– more than 15 years after the murder. They sold the store in 1989, and it was razed
at the intersection where Avon Street Extended now hits Route 20.