03/25/09 — Davis to spend life in prison

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Davis to spend life in prison

By Nick Hiltunen
Published in News on March 25, 2009 1:46 PM

A Goldsboro man will serve two life terms without parole for the murders of two men in August 2006.

A jury returned a guilty verdict in the trial of Roderick Miles "Ricky" Davis Jr., 25, late Tuesday. He will get credit for the 944 days he spent in Wayne County Jail awaiting trial. David has already been relocated from the county, a court official said today.

The verdict came after about a day-and-a-half of deliberations, as the jury returned at 5:15 p.m..

The jury found Davis not guilty of "lying in wait," for the two men, but found him guilty on the first-degree felony murder rule involving the discharge of a gun into a vehicle with people inside.

They also found him guilty on the basis of malice, premeditation and deliberation in both the murders of James Lee "Slick" Croom, 24, and Trasond Javoy Gerald, 20.

The jury found him guilty of 12 total counts, including the two first-degree murder counts. Eight of the counts were for discharging a weapon into an unoccupied vehicle, and two more were for the bullets that hit the apartments at 716-A Olivia Lane and 903-A Olivia Lane.

The jury foreman told Judge Paul Gessner that the panel "was not close," to reaching a verdict when they were dismissed at 5:30 p.m. Monday. They then spent all day Tuesday deliberating before reaching a verdict.

Davis' attorney Geoffrey Hulse said he was disappointed in the outcome.

"I was disappointed, particularly for Ricky and his family. He had steadfastly maintained that it was self defense, and had (maintained self defense) in all of my conversations with him from the very beginning," Hulse said.

Hulse said Davis would file an appeal.

"The jury spoke. Of course, he has given notice of appeal, and it will be reviewed by a higher court," Hulse said.

Gessner had described the case as complicated and advised jurors to take extreme caution examining the evidence against Davis.

The evidentiary portion of the trial ended on Friday, and jurors heard the closing statements of the state and the defense on Monday morning.

During the trial, Assistant District Attorney Matt Delbridge attempted to paint Davis as a man connected with violence and drugs. Davis admitted during the trial that he had sold drugs, including crack cocaine and marijuana.

Delbridge also tried to connect a "loose association of neighbors," that he said includes Davis Jr. and Maleek and Jamie Oates.

Maleek Oates was shot in the foot not long before the fatal confrontation between Davis Jr., and Croom and Gerald.

The assistant district attorney said trouble started when someone robbed the Oates' brothers home. The district attorney said he believed drugs, money and jewelry was taken from the home. Davis testified he only knew about "a chain" that had been stolen from the Oates.

Hulse argued that Davis was a man who feared for his safety and that of his family.

Davis testified that he was shot at at least four times before he shot at Croom and Gerald, who had approached him in a rented 2006 Dodge Stratus.