Killer did not know what he was doing, doctors say

'The lights were on, but no one was at home'
Sep. 10, 2013 @ 08:21 AM

A man charged with murder after shooting his wife to death in 2009 while she was on the phone to 911 was allowed Monday to plead guilty to the reduced charge of involuntary manslaughter and will serve no time in prison.

Herbert Lawrence "Larry" Peck, 71, suffered from a condition known as "automatism," in which low glucose levels in his blood, along with dementia and other health issues, resulted in delirium, so he was not aware that he shot Glenda Peck, 66, six times shortly after 4 a.m. Nov. 14, 2009, as she stood in the kitchen of their house at 3190 Covington Way, said Dr. John Warren III of Winston-Salem, one of three doctors who testified at Monday's hearing.

"Not to make light of his condition, but basically the lights were on, but no one was home," Warren said.

Glenda Peck had called 911 to report that her husband was having a medical problem and was becoming violent. When deputies arrived, the house was locked but they could see through a window that Glenda Peck was on the floor. They forced their way in and found Larry Peck hiding in the bedroom closet.

Swanson said the tape of Glenda Peck's 911 call clearly shows she was not in fear for her life but instead was concerned for her husband's state of mind and physical well-being.

Peck expressed remorse after the hearing.

"I am more than sorry for what happened. If I could trade places with her, I'd do it," Peck said outside the courthouse. "I really, really mean that. I appreciate all the trouble the court went through to do this and get the truth out."

Glenda Peck's son, Scott Hardin, expressed his dismay in the plea deal during the court hearing. He said attorneys refused to consider a prior history of domestic violence he says existed between the couple.

"I'm very concerned about the judicial process," Hardin said. "Why is the district attorney's office helping the defesne? No one in my family has been interviewed who would substantiate all of this (prior history of violence). I don't think justice is being served."

Court records show Peck, a military veteran, suffers from a host of medical issues, including diabetes, depression, dementia, and chronic pain from a neck and spine injury that occurred while he was in the Army. He and Glenda Peck had married three times over a 23-year span, living in Florida before moving to Hudson five years ago, and then to Lenoir.

Peck served two years in jail while awaiting trial but has been free since October 2011 after he was allowed to post $35,000 bond with special conditions. Peck went to live with his son, Lawrence Peck of Rochester, N.Y., and then his daughter, Marie Schmidt of Hadlet, N.J., and was required to surrender his driver’s license, could not own a firearm or other deadly weapon, and was required to stay within New York and New Jersey unless returning to North Carolina for further court proceedings.