Medical examiner testifies about how longtime friends died during 2014 home invasion

Donovan Jevonte Richardson
Donovan Jevonte Richardson CCBI

An accused killer, courtroom spectators and members of a capital jury listened intently Tuesday while the state’s chief medical examiner told how longtime friends Arthur Lee Brown and David Eugene McKoy died of gunshot wounds during a home invasion robbery in 2014.

Tuesday marked the fourth day of testimony in the capital murder trial for Donovan Jevonte Richardson, 24, of Holly Springs, who is charged with killing Brown, a popular 78-year-old construction company owner, and David Eugene McKoy, 66, who was Brown’s best friend and longtime employee.

Prosecutors 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.

Family members and a neighborhood resident found Brown laying atop blankets in a bed in the master bedroom of his home. McKoy was found wrapped in blankets on a day bed in a smaller bedroom in the home, sheriff’s deputies reported.

Crawford last year was sentenced to life in prison. Britt has not gone to trial, but has been cooperating with investigators. Richardson could face the death penalty if he is convicted of first-degree murder.

Dr. Deborah Radisch, chief medical examiner with the state medical examiner’s office, testified Tuesday that Brown had two gunshot wounds to the chest and what appeared to be a third gunshot wound to his right hand. In a matter-of-fact, clinical voice, Radisch explained that a bullet tore through Brown’s chest and entered the region that contained his left lung and heart, where it punctured and left a large hole in his pulmonary artery and also tore one side of his aorta before exiting his back.

The gunshot, Radisch said, made it difficult for Brown to breathe.

“He was breathing air and blood into his lungs from the injury,” she said.

Another shot hit Brown in the mid-chest area and struck his heart’s right ventricle. The bullet left a hole in his heart and tore a coronary artery before it damaged his lower left lung, diaphragm and the left side of his spleen.

Radisch said either of the gunshot wounds to the chest could have been potentially fatal “relatively quickly.”

“Each wound had a large amount of bleeding,” she said. “The bleeding from the wounds would have caused death before injuries from the wounds.”

Radisch said McKoy was struck by gunfire in the face, to the left side of his nose. The bullet went through his facial bones and sinuses and traveled down the left side of his neck.

“It skimmed along the side of his spinal bone at the base of the skull and fractured it,” she said.

The bullet also tore an artery in the spinal area, causing bleeding at the base of the skull and from the brain.

The bullet did not exit McKoy’s body. Radisch said she found a large lead fragment between the base of the skull and the spine, along with multiple fragments in the wound track.

During cross-examination by defense attorney Richard Gammon, Radisch said there was no evidence Brown had been shot at close range. Nor could she conclusively say that Brown was wounded in the hand by a third gunshot.

The trial continues Wednesday morning. Prosecutors expect to wrap up their case Thursday.

Thomasi McDonald: 919-829-4533, @thomcdonald