07/13/07 — Jurors return verdict in 2005 Christmas Eve drive-by shooting

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Jurors return verdict in 2005 Christmas Eve drive-by shooting

By Lee Williams
Published in News on July 13, 2007 1:46 PM

A Goldsboro man was ordered to spend the next nine years in prison for fatally shooting a man in his car on Christmas Eve in 2005.

David Lamar Applewhite, 35, of Royall Avenue, was convicted Thursday of voluntary manslaughter and discharging a weapon into an occupied property in the death of 37-year-old Reginald Reid of Russell Street.

Reid was found shot to death in the 1700 block of Peachtree Street at about 12:35 p.m. His body was found slumped over in his car, which was riddled with bullets. Investigators said Reid and Apple-white, who had a history of disagreements, had an argument on the day of the shooting.

Applewhite originally faced first-degree murder. However, after deliberating over the case for nearly two hours, jurors found Applewhite not guilty of first-degree murder, but found him guilty of a lesser offense of voluntary manslaughter. Jurors also found Applewhite guilty of discharging a weapon into an occupied property.

The verdict came at the end of a four-day trial.

Wayne County Superior Court Judge Charles Henry presided over the case. Wayne County Assistant District Attorney Matt Delbridge presented the state's case. Defense Attorney Geoff Hulse represented the accused.

Henry ordered Applewhite to serve a maximum of 119 months in prison. The judge also stated that Applewhite, a father of five, would have to pay $5,000 restitution to Reid's family.

Applewhite declined to make a statement. However, Reid's mother, Dorothy Reid, seized the opportunity to address her son's killer.

"I just want you to know you won't be walking all across me and stepping on my feet," Mrs. Reid said referring to Applewhite, who she said brushed by her several times as she sat in the courtroom. "You did it all week. Thank God for the jury."

Despite the jury's decision, Hulse stated Applewhite planned to appeal the verdict.

With that, the judge wished Applewhite luck and ordered the bailiffs to escort him out of the courtroom. Applewhite, who wore a white dress shirt, dark slacks and a pony tail, walked briskly out of the courtroom.

He never looked back.

Reid's fiancée, Latosia Hudson, was among those who attended the trial. When asked if she believed justice was served for her slain fiancé, she said, "No."

"I feel he should have got murder 1," Miss Hudson said.

Reid's sister, Barbara Reid, wasn't thrilled with the verdict, but she still found a reason to rejoice.

"At least he didn't walk out of here today," Barbara Reid said.

Dorothy Reid shook her head in agreement.

"It could have been better. A whole lot better," Mrs. Reid said. "But at least he got something because he thought he was going to walk out of here a free man."

Mrs. Reid said her son was a good man. He had two children and he was well-loved. She added Applewhite stole something precious from her.

"He was my son, my baby and my best friend," Mrs. Reid said.