A Wake County jury found James H. Courtney III guilty on Tuesday of second-degree murder in the 2009 shooting death of James Carol DeBerry.
Courtney had been tried on the accusations in 2010, but a jury then failed to come to a unanimous decision on a verdict. The Wake County District Attorney’s office dismissed the murder charges after the judge declared a mistrial in 2010, but Courtney was recharged in 2015 after investigators turned up new phone records and DNA results.
Sentencing is set for Wednesday in Wake County Superior Court before Judge Don Stephens.
Stephens presided over the weeklong trial in which prosecutors described a killing on Oct. 31, 2009, outside an apartment on Shadetree Lane, as retaliation for a marijuana sale that resulted in “bad weed.”
DeBerry, a father of two who lived in the apartment complex with his girlfriend, was known for selling drugs in the area. After being shot on Halloween night and running from the parking lot into a wooded area, DeBerry slowly slipped into unconsciousness as his girlfriend tried to help.
While still conscious, prosecutors contended, DeBerry reportedly said “Jar” and added that Jar’s “Durham friend” was responsible for shooting him.
“Jar,” according to testimony, is David Moses, who lived in an apartment one floor up from where DeBerry lived. Through phone records, DNA found on a smoldering cigarette at the scene, and testimony from Moses, prosecutors homed in on Courtney.
The defense argued that prosecutors had the wrong man. They also argued that prosecutors had not proved premeditation.