Local News

Fayetteville Judge Rules Jury Can See Golphins Letters

Posted April 29, 1998

— They've been convicted of killing two law enforcement officers. Now Tilmon and Kevin Golphin await their sentences.

Thursday was reserved for Judge Coy Brewer to hear attorneys' motions about what evidence the jurors could consider. He decided that, with the exception of a few paragraphs, they may see letters written from jail or court by the Golphins.

The jury must make a decision between life and death for the Richmond, Va. brothers who were found guilty of first degree murder in the deaths of N.C. Trooper Ed Lowry and Cumberland County Deputy David Hathcock.

The sentencing phase of the trial begins Friday, but Thursday, one day after the brothers were convicted of a total of 14 counts, they appeared in court again. The jury was not present to hear the motions.

Thursday morning, Kevin Golphin entered the courtroom in a rebellious fashion, dressed in his orange prison jumpsuit. His attorney told Judge Brewer that Golphin was dressed that way voluntarily.

Prosecutors told the judge they want the jury to see two letters written by Tilmon Golphin while he was in jail. The letters, written to someone in Virginia, contained requests for contraband and a threat to stab a guard in the eye with a pencil.

Also at issue was a statement written in the courtroom by Kevin Golphin during jury selection.

During the motions hearing, those in the courtroom heard several excerpts from the written items. In one, Tilmon Golphin referred to officers as "pork chops who got what they deserve" and said "I ain't going out like Rodney King, so I smoked those [expletive deleted]."

During a morning break Thursday, when Kevin Golphin was taken into a holding cell, he was heard making loud noises and banging on the wall. Guards told him to calm down.

Prosecutors say they will put 15 witnesses on the stand during the sentencing phase. Some will testify regarding the Golphins' letters and some will be colleagues and relatives of the slain officers.

To date, defense attorneys have not said if any of the Golphins' family members will testify.


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