Ruby Bullock, the octogenarian sister in-law of Arthur Lee Brown, told a Wake County jury Monday that her life has been difficult since his shooting death in 2014.
“It’s been pretty hard with us,” said Bullock, one of a number of relatives who lived on the same street at Brown. “Arthur always checked and looked out for us. He’s terribly missed, not just by us, but the community.”
Testimony from Brown’s sister-in law Monday followed opening statements in the sentencing phase of a capital murder trial for Donovan Jevonte Richardson. On Friday, a Wake County jury found Richardson, 24, of Holly Springs, guilty in the shooting deaths of Brown and David Eugene McKoy during a violent nighttime burglary and robbery at a Fuquay-Varina home.
Richardson could face the death penalty in the case or spend the rest of his life in prison.
In opening statements to jurors Monday, prosecutors argued that Richardson deserves the death penalty, while defense attorneys tried to persuade jury members to spare the convicted double murderer’s life.
Richardson’s sister, Chiquita Burt, 29, of Fuquay-Varina told the court that her brother, who is the father of two sons, never had a relationship with a father who did not want him. She said her family will continue to love and support Richardson if he is sentenced to prison and will ensure that he has a relationship with his sons.
Prosecutors during the trial said 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.
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.
Bullock was one of two witnesses who told the court about the impact the men’s deaths had on their families. McKoy’s nephew, James McKoy, who is a pastor, spoke of going to check on his uncle after hearing that someone had broken into the home.
“When I got there I saw the yellow tape. I saw my cousin. She was crying so hard,” McKoy said. “I ran to her and I asked, ‘what’s going on?’ She said, ‘They’re dead, they’re dead – David and Arthur. They’re dead.’ I fell to my knees. I don’t know what happened after that.”
Burt, Richardson’s sister, works as a surgical technician. She told the court that her brother was the youngest of three children that her father had with three mothers. He was not involved with any of the children, and he never gave them Christmas or birthday gifts.
“He claimed at the beginning that Donovan was not his son,” she said while using a napkin to dab away tears from her eyes.
Burt said the center of her brother’s life was his grandfather, who died shortly after his arrest.
“He loved his Donovan,” Burt said.
Burt said her brother was enrolled at Shaw University the year before his arrest. She did not know if his grandfather helped to pay his tuition.
Richardson has two sons – Jaden, 7, and Drew, a 3-year-old who was born after his arrest, Burt said.
Bullock said Brown was the father of Kenneth L. Brown, a schoolteacher whose wife had given birth to twins shortly before he died.
“I don’t hardly have the words to express how close they were,” Bullock said. “He was an only child. Arthur was the best man at his wedding. He has a set of twins, a boy and a girl. They were three months old when Arthur died. The little boy is constantly asking his grandmama about his granddaddy. It’s hard.”