A 24-year-old Holly Springs man was found guilty of first-degree murder Friday in the 2014 deaths of two longtime friends during a violent night-time burglary and robbery at a Fuquay-Varina home.
A Wake County jury convicted Donovan Jevonte Richardson of all charges in the deaths of Arthur Lee Brown and David Eugene McKoy.
The jury also found Richardson guilty of first-degree burglary and conspiracy to commit burglary, along with first-degree robbery with a dangerous weapon and conspiracy to commit armed robbery.
The sentencing portion of Richardson’s trial will begin Monday morning in a Wake County courtroom. He could face the death penalty in the case or spend the rest of his life in prison.
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Prosecutors say Richardson and Gregory A. Crawford of Fuquay-Varina broke into the home of Brown, a popular 74-year-old construction company owner, in the early morning hours of July 18, 2014. There, they shot and killed Brown and his friend and employee, McKoy, 66, who was staying in the home.
Richardson and Crawford busted out a basement window at Brown’s home at 236 Howard Road in Fuquay-Varina, prosecutors said. Brown was in bed in his home’s large master bedroom, while McKoy was asleep in bed in another room.
Crawford was sentenced to life in prison.
A third accomplice, Kevin Bernard Britt, waited outside in a vehicle for the burglars. Britt has not gone to trial but has been cooperating with the prosecution.
Prosecutors Howard Cummings and Matt Lively said Richardson shot Brown twice in the chest and once in the right hand. Crawford grabbed a .38 caliber revolver that Brown kept on his nightstand and went where McKoy lay sleeping and shot him in the face, prosecutors said.
Richardson later told Britt, “I didn’t know two people were in the house. I saw two people dead on the news,” according to testimony during the trial by Thomas Jones, an investigator with the Wake County Sheriff’s Office.
Separated by a few feet
It took jurors about seven hours over a two-day period to return the guilty verdicts for Richardson.
About a half dozen of Brown and McKoy’s family members sat in the first three rows on the right side of the courtroom. They were separated by only a few feet from Richardson’s family members.
Kenneth L. Brown, Arthur Brown’s son, said the two families are distant relatives.
“My mother taught his mother,” Brown said about the convicted killer.
During the trial, prosecutors presented evidence that less than two hours after Arthur Brown and McKoy were killed, Richardson posted a picture on social media of his hand clutching a World War II “Tommy” gun that was stolen from Brown’s home at 236 Howard Road in Fuquay-Varina.
Prosecutors also think Richardson, Crawford and Britt were responsible for a similar burglary a little more than two weeks before on July 3, 2014 at a nearby home on Wagstaff Avenue. A man who rented the home, Kevin Kizer, testified that his cousin was held at gunpoint by two armed men who took his AR-15 and AK-47 weapons and a pit bull puppy named “Polo.”
The three men were not arrested until early August 2014. Before they were taken into custody, Richardson used Britt’s cell phone to advertise the guns for sale on Facebook Messenger, prosecutors say.
‘Strapped like Rambo’
Several of the advertisements were read in the courtroom during the trial:
“I got some straps on the market, a AK and a chopper. 450 a gun,” read one.
“I got a blue pit bull for sale. 1 month old,” read another.
“I got a .22 and a 9,” read a third. “Lol. I’m strapped like Rambo.”
“Know anybody who need a strap? I got some firepower on the market.”
Sheriff’s deputies never recovered the stolen guns.
As the sentencing phase of Richardson’s trial begins Monday, defense attorneys will present evidence to compel the jury to spare Richardson’s life, while prosecutors will try to convince jury members to sentence him to death.
“You want to know the truth?” Kenneth Brown asked a reporter about two hours before the jury reached a verdict.
“I want them to kill him.”