11/21/11 — Ingram gets life for 2007 murder

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Ingram gets life for 2007 murder

By Gary Popp
Published in News on November 21, 2011 1:46 PM

Windsor Devone Ingram

A Wayne County Superior Court jury took about 75 minutes Friday to find Windsor Devone Ingram guilty of first-degree murder.

The 24-year-old was sentenced to a mandatory term of life imprisonment without the possibility of parole for for the death of Tomorris Njai Raynor, who was gunned down outside of his Mount Olive home in September 2007.

Ingram has been in the Wayne County Jail since turning himself in to Mount Olive police on Sept. 14, 2007.

He has consistently denied that he had anything to do with Raynor's murder.

Ingram, who has the longest active sentence of any inmate at the jail, faced the same charge in January, but the case resulted in a mistrial, following an 11-1 hung jury.

In her closing argument Friday, Assistant District Attorney Jennifer Bedford told the eight women and four men on the jury that there was a virtually unmistakable link between Ingram and a phone number called by Raynor only minutes before a man came to his house and shot him five times in back and once in the leg.

She said Ingram came to Raynor's home at 105 E. Kornegay St. with the intent of killing the 34-year-old and father of five over a drug deal that went wrong.

"Windsor Ingram did what he went there to do," Mrs. Bedford told the jury. "He killed Tomorris Raynor."

Mrs. Bedford said a trail of bullet cases expelled from a 9-mm handgun establishes a conflict that originated in the back yard of Raynor's home and ended when the man collapsed to his death near the front patio of the house with eight grams of crack cocaine clutched in his right hand.

The prosecutor explain-ed that when the two men turned the front corner of the home during the fatal chase, Ingram came face to face with the prosecution's primary witness, Raynor's 11-year-old cousin.

Three days after the shooting, the young woman, now 15, positively identified Ingram as the gunman, in a third and final photo lineup conducted by Mount Olive police.

While she testified from the witness stand in January and during the current trial, the young woman has not pointed out Ingram in the courtroom as the shooter.

Mrs. Bedford argued that although the girl has not been able to point out Ingram during the trail, the defendant is the man the girl saw shoot her cousin.

She recollected the girl's testimony from earlier in the week, reminding the jurors that tears streamed down her young face and that she refused to even look in Ingram's direction as she responded to questions with a quivering voice.

"She is terrified of him," Mrs. Bedford said.

During a 43-minute closing argument, defense attorney Charles Gurley claimed incompetent police work, weak sources and a lack of evidence all support that the prosecution failed to prove his client's guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.

In his closing, Gurley walked up and down the aisles, raised his voice and struck the wooden accents of the courtroom with his hands to emphasis the shortcomings of the prosecution's argument.

"We have been chasing rabbits," Gurley said the of state's presentation of case. "You can come in here and say anything, but this is a courtroom, and we are dealing with reality."

Gurley reminded the jurors that the more than 20 friends and family in the courtroom have done everything they could to support Ingram and to fight to prove his innocence.

Ingram's testimony, or that of his two children's mother and his sister, even in conjunction with Gurley's passionate delivery of the case, was not enough to convince the jurors that Ingram was not the shooter.

Following the trial, Gurley remained upbeat about his client's future. He said the Ingram family is also staying positive that case will go to the court of appeals and be remanded for a new trial.