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Murder suspect faces death penalty

By Shavonne Potts
spotts@salisburypost.com
Rowan County District Attorney Bill Kenerly said Monday he will pursue the death penalty for 21-year-old Christopher Boyd, one of three people charged with murder in the death of Salisbury dentist Dr. James David Boyd.
Kenerly said he will not seek the death penalty for 18-year-old Jonathan Barnett, another person charged in the crime. Kenerly announced last week that he would not seek the death penalty for Candice Jo Drye, 23, the third defendant.
Christopher Boyd, who is not related to the victim, and Barnett appeared in Rowan County Superior Court Monday for a Rule 24 hearing, at which prosecutors present reasons for seeking capital punishment.
Kenerly told visiting Superior Court Judge James E. Hardin Jr., of Durham, that even though he felt there were enough aggravating factors to seek the death penalty against Barnett, he would not.
He said the case met at least four of the 11 aggravating factors required for capital punishment. They are:
– The murder was committed to avoid or prevent lawful arrest.
– The offense was committed during the commission of, attempt of or escape from a specified felony ó in this case a robbery and burglary.
– The murder was committed for pecuniary (monetary) gain.
– The crime was especially heinous, atrocious or cruel.
Christopher Boyd and Barnett stood with their attorneys, Salisbury’s James Davis and Lawrence Hewitt, of Charlotte, respectively, and pleaded not guilty to first-degree murder, first-degree burglary, felonious larceny and armed robbery.
Christopher Boyd is the brother of Drye’s boyfriend.
Barnett is Christopher Boyd’s cousin.
Police say Drye, Christopher Boyd and Barnett went into the dentist’s home, where they stole electronics.
Detectives have said the robbery and burglary underlying factors in the killing.
Relatives of the three have said Drye went to see David Boyd to get drugs, and that she was addicted to hydrocodone.
The dentist was found June 26 strangled and tied.
At least two of Barnett’s family members were in court for the hearing. Neither commented following the proceedings. Hewitt, Barnett’s attorney, said the district attorney told him two or three weeks ago that he would not seek the death penalty against Barnett.
“Mr. Barnett, myself and his family are relieved that a decision has been made that he will under no circumstances face the death penalty,” he said.
Hewitt added that it also shows the “difference in culpability between Christopher Boyd and Jonathan Barnett.”

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