Local News

Closing Arguments Wrap Up in Boggess Murder Trial

Posted May 29, 2007

— Closing arguments wrapped up Tuesday in a Durham murder case that's more than 10 years old.

Todd Boggess is being re-tried for the beating death of Danny Pence, 16, who was found dead in a wooded area of northern Durham County in 1995.

Boggess was convicted and sentenced to die, but his conviction was overturned on a technicality.

On Tuesday, the judge charged the jury and planned to finish instructing jurors Wednesday morning.

Prosecutors have said Boggess and Melanie Gray kidnapped Pence from Wilmington, brought him to Durham and killed him before stealing his car. Gray, who pleaded guilty to second-degree murder, was set free in 2005.

Sharlene Pence, Danny's mother, said she is seeking closure.

"I want to reember all the good things about him," she said. "I don't want to remember how he died, so I pray after the next few weeks, I won't have to do that again."

Pence said she carries her son's senior picture with her everywhere.

"We had so many plans for his life and they were all taken away," she said.

The defense rested Friday after presenting just one witness. Defense attorneys claim Boggess was in an altered mental state during the murder.

Prosecutors have said they will not seek the death penalty in the case.


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  • Mad Baumer May 29, 2007

    The "girl" is already out of jail I believe, and an altered mental state is a crutch that is leaned on way too often. An altered mental state may be an OK defense if someone violates your daughter and you re-act, or if you are blinsided in a bar by someone who you have no dealings with previously. An altered mental state is NOT OK if you are high, tough you did it to yourself, or if you are drunk, or just stupid. I am in an altered mental state EVERY Monday morning; I deal with it and get through my day without killing anyone, close today though, glad it was Tuesday...

  • TFH May 29, 2007

    A technicality, in Durham? Please, not another botched investigation in Durham. I remember when they found Danny, not too far from where I used to live. It was a horrible crime. He, and the girl, should be put away for a very long time.

  • browneyedgirl May 29, 2007

    This guy took someones life, therefore, his life should be taken away. Terrible, so sad.

  • love fatgirls May 29, 2007

    Well that is a picture you hardly see in Durham Court Rooms these days!!!

  • Weetie May 29, 2007

    Defense attorneys claim Boggess was in an altered mental state during the murder.

    I agree with you all...Altered mental state? So the defense says, " well since he was in an altered mental state he should get a lighter sentence? He should be set free? A message should be sent to people that no matter what state you are in, you cannot kill people!

    Please...stop making excuses! This could have been YOUR son!

  • Lefty May 29, 2007

    The defendant was "In an altered mental state during the murder"? Well I suspect his mother and the rest of his family have been in an "Altered mental state" SINCE the murder which broke their hearts and took away a loved one forever. We need to make sure people that commit such crimes DO NOT get away on technicalities.

  • urkiddinme May 29, 2007

    "altered mental state" ? That's his defense? I agree with you spazman.

  • spazman May 29, 2007