Roommate murder case postponed

The trial of a 19-year-old accused of murdering his roommate was postponed until December as the defendant's lawyer seeks an expert to conduct biological testing.

Michael Joseph Anderson, a Kings Mountain native, is charged with first-degree murder after admitting to killing Stephen Starr earlier this year in their Ruth Drive home.

Anderson's lawyer, Robert Campbell, said Monday in court that he is seeking an expert to conduct DNA and blood testing related to the crime. Michael Van Buren, of the N.C. District 25 Attorney's Office, said he is prepared with an expert for tests to submit to the State Bureau of Investigation for evidence.

"I'd like to move this case along if it's not going to be resolved," Van Buren said.

Both the state and defense said the case may be resolved without a trial.

Superior Court Judge Richard Doughten told Van Buren and Campbell to work together to either resolve the case or be prepared for an appearance in court Dec. 5 to move forward with a trial.

Anderson has been in jail since Feb. 14. During a 9-1-1 call the day of the murder, he confessed to shooting Starr with a shotgun before using an axe to mutilate the victim's body. Anderson also told 9-1-1 dispatchers he "took some pills" that made him "go mad."

A report by the state medical examiner showed Starr's cause of death to be wounds to the head and body from a 12-gauge shotgun and a .45-caliber handgun. The medical examiner also reported "wounds carved into skin on abdomen."

Catawba County Sheriff Coy Reid previously described the murder scene as "probably one of the nastiest crime scenes I've ever been to."

In May, prosecutors with the district attorney's office said they would not seek the death penalty for Anderson because of a lack of capital aggravating factors.