Killer gets up to 50 years; two others will spend at least 19 years in prison for murder of dentist
By Jessie Burchette
Three people charged in the 2008 murder of Salisbury dentist Dr. James David Boyd will spend 19 to 40 years in state prison.
The dentist died in a robbery that went wrong on June 26, 2008, when one of the masked robbers blurted out the name of the other.
Christopher Allen Boyd, Jonathan Alexander Barnett and Candice Jo Drye pleaded guilty to second-degree murder and other charges related to the crime.
Christopher Boyd, 22, of Kannapolis, was identified by authorities as Dr. Boyd’s killer. He will spend at least 40 years in prison with a maximum of 50 years.
Barnett, 20, of Kannapolis, and Drye, 25, of Mocksville, will each serve a minimum of 19 years and four months in state prison and a maximum of 25 years.
David Boyd’s body was found June 26, 2008, in the master bedroom of his home at 9 Pine Tree Road in the Country Club section of Salisbury. His body was discovered by an employee at his dental practice who went to the home when Dr. Boyd didn’t show up for work. He had been strangled to death.
District Attorney Bill Kenerly gave a brief recitation of the events that led to the murder. He said Drye had gone to Dr. Boyd’s home earlier in the evening asking to borrow money.
She didn’t get any money and later went to Kannapolis, where she was living with her boyfriend ó Christopher Boyd’s brother and other members of this family.
Later in the night, Drye, Christopher Boyd and Barnett went back to the dentist’s house adjacent to the The Country Club of Salisbury.
Kenerly said Drye remained in Barnett’s truck while the others went inside. Wearing some type of Halloween masks, they briefly went in at the first floor and then to the second floor and Dr. Boyd’s bedroom.
There they bound his hands and feet with electrical cords they had cut off lights or appliances. Kenerly introduced evidence that included the extension cords, all sealed in brown paper bags.
Apparently after gouging or cutting into Dr. Boyd’s back, he told them were to find several hundred dollars in cash.
At some point after they got the money, Barnett called Christopher Boyd by his name.
Kenerly said Christopher Boyd replied, “He knows my name, I have to kill him.”
Barnett and Christopher Boyd took a computer, and two cameras from the home. Before leaving, they filled a tub in the master bathroom and tossed in items they had touched to wash away fingerprints and DNA.
Kenerly said investigators found Drye’s fingerprints in the house but did not find any prints or DNA of the other two defendants in the house.
The two rejoined Drye in the truck and left to buy cigarettes and beer.
All three defendants were apparently using alcohol and drugs.
Later, Barnett and Chris Boyd used part of the stolen money to buy tires for the truck and go to the beach.
All three defendants stood, looked at Dr. Boyd’s family and expressed sorrow at what happened and asked for forgiveness.
Their attorneys repeatedly thanked Dr. Boyd’s family for agreeing to the plea deal that offers them a chance to one day be out of prison.
“I wish I could bring him back,” a sobbing Drye told the family, saying she “hated it for the children,” going on to say she has three children of her own.
James Davis, Christopher Boyd’s attorney, thanked the victim’s family for the plea agreement, saying it gives his client the chance to one day to be able to walk with his son, who is now a year old.
Davis described Christopher Boyd as a broken man who has lost 30 pounds while in jail. “His heart aches,” Davis said, adding, “He doesn’t deserve your mercy. Thank you for your mercy.”
Larry Hewitt, a Charlotte attorney representing Barnett, said what happened that night has eaten away at his client’s soul.
Dr. Boyd’s widow, Kathy, used a tissue to wipe away tears. On the other side of the courtroom, the families of Drye, Barnett and Christopher Boyd cried openly.
Kenerly said Kathy Boyd had agreed to the plea agreement and sentences.
After the murder, investigators said Dr. Boyd had been under investigation by local and state agencies over allegations of trading prescription drugs for sex at his office on Statesville Boulevard. Drye told authorities she was one of the women who traded sexual favors for drugs.
About two dozen observers, including family members and another two dozen law enforcement officers, attended the hearing.
Just before 10 a.m., bailiffs led Barnett into the courtroom, followed by Drye. Barnett looked around at those seated in the chamber. Drye did not.
About five minutes later, Christopher Boyd was led into court. After being seated, he looked around and appeared to whisper briefly with Drye.
Initially, Kenerly had planned to seek the death penalty for Christopher Boyd. He said in court that, in addition to second-degree murder, Christopher Boyd and the other defendants had agreed to plead guilty to burglary, robbery and felony larceny. Christopher Boyd also pleaded guilty to pending Cabarrus County charges.
Christopher Boyd got additional years tacked on for breaking and entering, larceny and burning a building ó Moss and Moore contractors on South Main Street in Kannapolis.
Kenerly said when Boyd was unable to open a safe in the Kannapolis business, he decided to burn it down, resulting in a $500,000 loss.
All three defendants have been held in the Rowan County Detention Center since being arrested shortly after the murder. They will get credit for the 18 months already served.
Special Superior Court Judge Robinson Hassell of Guilford County presided at the hearing and meted out the sentences.
Members of Dr. Boyd’s family as well as members of the families of Drye, Barnette and Christopher Boyd, declined to speak to the media after the hearing.