07/01/04 — Man gets life in fatal shooting

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Man gets life in fatal shooting

By Jack Stephens
Published in News on July 1, 2004 2:01 PM

The story was as old as time.

It involved one woman and two Goldsboro men. One man was dead, and the other has been sentenced to life in prison without parole for his murder.

Gary Anthony Williams of Olivia Lane was convicted Wednesday in Wayne County Superior Court for the fatal shooting of 24-year-old Juhan Roshaun Davis of Chestnut Circle.

A jury of 10 women and two men needed only 56 minutes to find Williams guilty of the shooting that occurred Feb. 23, 2003, on the porch of the woman's home. A combination of eyewitness testimony and a recorded cell phone call was enough to sway the 12 panelists.

The 29-year-old Williams also was convicted of discharge of a weapon into occupied property, the home at 417 Hollowell Street. He was sentenced by Judge Ernest Fullwood of Wilmington to an additional 29 to 44 months.

Davis was shot three times at about 3 a.m. He staggered from the porch around the corner, then collapsed and died on Hinson Street.

The incident occurred like this:

Williams and the girlfriend, Joyce Banks, had been selling cellular telephones and they arrived at Ms. Banks' home. Then Williams and Davis had a heated discussion, and Ms. Banks got out of the car.

A short time later, Williams returned with what was believed to be a handgun. He fired a shot in the air, got out of the car, walked toward the home and fired three shots at Davis. One shot went in the home, narrowly missing a sleeping child.

Davis was rushed by ambulance to Wayne Memorial Hospital where he was pronounced dead.

Police responded to a shots-fired call, found the victim, then canvassed the neighborhood and interviewed witnesses. Police investigators said information obtained from witnesses provided enough evidence for them to arrest Williams two days later.

Williams had been convicted of only misdemeanor crimes in Wayne County. But at the time of the shooting, he was on probation for drug convictions in New York.

Assistant District Attorney Matt Delbridge called 12 witnesses to testify, including eyewitnesses, police officers at the scene and two forensic experts from the State Bureau of Investigation during the three-day trial.

Delbridge praised the police and SBI for their work, especially in finding "reluctant witnesses."

Lawyer William Spence of Kinston decided not to put on a defense after conferring with Williams and his family. His motions to dismiss the charges were denied. When Deputy Court Clerk Audie Dale read the verdict, Spence asked that the jurors be polled. All 12 agreed that they had voted guilty on both charges.

Spence appealed the verdict to the N.C. Court of Appeals.