Man convicted of killing 74-year-old NC widow

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Matthew Hagert Salentine

SMITHFIELD, N.C. — A jury is now hearing testimony over whether a man convicted of beating a 74-year-old Smithfield widow to death should get the death penalty.

WRAL-TV reports that a Johnston County jury last week found Matthew Hagert Salentine guilty of first-degree murder, first-degree burglary and first-degree robbery.

Patricia Stevens was found dead in her home in 2010, wrapped in a rug. She was the widow of prominent attorney Austin Stevens, who died in 2005.

Salentine lived about a block away and was arrested the day after Patricia Stevens was killed. Salentine’s attorney said his client is bi-polar and was a crack-cocaine addict at the time.

Prosecutors are seeking the death penalty against Salentine. That hearing continues this week.

Credit: The Associated Press.