At double murder trial, prosecutors try to link defendant to earlier home invasion

Donovan Jevonte Richardson
Donovan Jevonte Richardson CCBI

Wake County prosecutors relied on the testimony of several witnesses Friday to show that a murder defendant may have participated in a home invasion robbery about two weeks before the fatal shooting of two longtime friends who lived in the same neighborhood.

Friday marked the second day of testimony in the trial of Donovan Jevonte Richardson, 24, of Holly Springs, who is charged with the capital murders of Arthur Lee Brown, a popular construction company owner, and David Eugene McKoy, Brown’s best friend and longtime employee.

Wake prosecutors Howard Cummings and Matt Lively say that in the early morning hours of July 18, 2014, Richardson, along with Gregory Adalverto Crawford of Fuquay-Varina and Kevin Bernard Britt of Holly Springs, fatally shot Brown and McKoy in Brown’s home on Howard Road in Fuquay-Varina. Investigators said the men conspired to rob the victims.

Crawford last year was sentenced to life in prison. Britt has not gone to trial, but has been cooperating with investigators.

On Friday, a 19-year-old man testified that Brown may have been targeted by the accused killers after they found out he may be interested in purchasing an assault rifle from them.

Gary McKoy, whose aunt was renting a trailer from Brown, said that in the summer of 2014, Crawford and two other men met him on a dirt road in front of his home and tried to sell him an assault rifle. He said that during the conversation, Arthur Brown’s name “just popped up.”

He recalled telling the men about a .38 caliber revolver that Brown had and noting that Brown “might want to buy” an assault rifle. McKoy said he remembered that Crawford then drove to Brown’s house.

McKoy said he didn’t hear about the shootings death until more than a week later. Prosecutors noted that McKoy did not want to testify because someone had threatened to “shoot up” his parent’s home.

Earlier home invasion

Before McKoy’s testimony, several witnesses told the court Friday about a home invasion that happened about two weeks before in the neighborhood on nearby Wagstaff Road. On July 3 about 1 a.m., two men armed with rifles broke into the home rented by Kevin Kizer, a News & Observer carrier, and his 28-year-old cousin.

Prosecutors asked that the 28-year-old’s name not be made public, because the young man fears for his life. The man told the court he was in bed and was startled awake by a man wearing a ski mask, pointing a gun in his face.

“He spoke to me and told me if I move I’ll be killed,” the man told the courtroom.

While that man held a rifle on him, the other ransacked his dresser drawers before taking his cell phones and cash.

The home invasion was over in about five minutes, but not before the thieves also went into Kizer’s room and took three long rifles; an AR-15, an AK-47 and a .45 caliber long rifle. They also made off with electronic devices, clothes, shoes and a five-month old pit bull puppy named “Polo.”

Kizer, who now lives in Holly Springs, was spending the weekend at the beach with his girlfriend when his mother called him about the robbery.

“She told me, ‘Kevin, you need to come home. Your house has been ransacked,’” Kizer told the court. “I headed back, and when I walked in my room it was like a tornado had been through it. The drawers were on the ground, the bed mattress was tossed around. The only thing that wasn’t touched was my TV. I noticed my dog was gone, and I looked for my guns and they were gone.”

‘Didn’t say much’

Also on Friday, Tykeiyah Alexander, the mother of Richardson’s 3-year-old son, testified that hours after the double murder, she and Richardson watched a local TV newscast about the shootings.

“It said that two old men was killed in their house in Fuquay-Varina,” said Alexander, who gave birth in August soon after Richardson’s arrest. “I don’t remember his expression. He didn’t say much about it.”

The next day, Alexander said, she attended a cookout with Richardson, Britt and Crawford and later rode down to Rockingham to spend the rest of the day at a drag strip.

Thomasi McDonald: 919-829-4533, @thomcdonald