Local News

Brothers Unrepentant as Jury Gives Them Death for Slayings of Officers

Posted May 12, 1998

— Two unrepentant teen-aged brothers lashed out Wednesday at jurors who sentenced them to death for the murders of two law enforcement officers at an Interstate 95 traffic stop.

``For the family, yeah, I was sorry at first, but once I found out that y'all wanted me to die ... '' said 18-year-old Kevin Golphin.

His statement incited Lori Fuller, daughter of slain Highway Patrol Trooper Ed Lowry, who shouted, ``You killed my daddy!''

``I know what I done!'' Kevin Golphin continued as Fuller ran out of the courtroom in tears. ``That still don't mean that I have to die, and a life is as precious as another one.''

Kevin Golphin also singled out Genet Watson, the lone black juror.

``I was just disappointed in you,'' said Kevin, the younger of the two brothers. ``All eyes is on you, Ms. Watson. Is that your name?''

Tilmon Golphin invoked the Bible in his final statement.

``I'm sorry for the family and their sorrow,'' said Tilmon, 19. ``And to the jury I say, 'Judge ye not for you would be judged one day. And from what measurement that ye judge, it will be measured unto you again.' You vote life, you get life. You vote death, you get death.''

``And you get death,'' responded Dixie Lowry, the trooper's widow.

The jury spent 4-1/2 hours deliberating the fate of the Golphins, the Richmond, Va., brothers who shot Lowry and Cumberland County sheriff's Deputy David Hathcock last fall.

Jurors said the factors raised by defense attorneys about poor upbringing for the defendants weren't sufficient to outweigh the need for a death sentence.

The Golphins' mother, Sylvia Williams, did not attend Wednesday's sentencing. Their grandmother, Christine McCray, who testified for the defense, had to be helped out of the courtroom by her husband, Sam, and Cumberland County sheriff's deputies, after the sentencing hearing.

Lead prosecutor Ed Grannis held back tears as he spoke to reporters moments after the hearing's conclusion.

``We were dealing with truly evil people and that's why this verdict is so appropriate,'' Grannis said. ``This case was all about hatred.''

Grannis said he hoped the Golphis died a painful death. ``I am sorry I say that, but I mean that from the bottom of my heart,'' he said.

Barbara Hathcock, the widow of the other slain officer, and several of her family members planned to travel to Washington, D.C., on Wednesday to take part in ceremonies for fallen police officers nationwide. She was relieved to hear the jury's sentence before leaving.

``Thank God it's over,'' said Hathcock, who wore a blue ribbon honoring fallen officers. ``It's a relief knowing justice has been served. This has been so hard but this is the first step toward closure.''

Al Lowry, Ed's brother, said he wanted to attend the brothers' execution.

``I hope I live long enough to see it,'' he said. ``I'll knock on the window and remind them what they did. That will be a ton of weight off my shoulders.''

Jurors refused to speak to reporters after they had made their decision, which didn't surprise defense attorneys.

``It wasn't unexpected,'' said Ron Winfrey, one of Kevin Golphin's attorneys. ``This was a hard case for everybody involved and we had a bad set of facts.''

After leaving the court, jurors traveled by bus to the scene of the slayings and left flowers. The jury was bused to Fayetteville daily from Johnston County.

Prosecutors portrayed the Sept. 23 killings on I-95 as part of a crime spree that began in Kingstree, S.C., with the robbery of a finance company employee.

They said Kevin Golphin took Lowry's .40 caliber Beretta and shot the two lawmen at pointblank range as they lay bleeding and wounded after being shot by Tilmon Golphin with an SKS rifle.

Neither Golphin showed emotion during the reading of the sentences, which by law had to be unanimous for a death sentence.

The brothers were scheduled to be held at Central Prison in Raleigh until a date for their executions is set.

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