Local News

Slain Teen's Mom: Guilty Verdict 'Justice for Danny'

Posted June 1, 2007

— Sharlene Pence cried Friday morning as Superior Court Judge Ripley Rand read the verdict the verdict for her son's killer.

Todd Boggess was guilty of first-degree murder, guilty of robbery and guilty of kidnapping her 16-year-old son, Danny.

During the three days the jury deliberated Boggess' fate, she paced the courthouse hallways with friends and one of the law enforcement officers who investigated the Aug. 21, 1995 beating death.

Authorities said Boggess and his then-girlfriend kidnapped the Wilmington honor student from a popular Wrightsville Beach hangout and drove to northern Durham where they gagged and blindfolded him and then bludgeoned him to death with a wooden board.

Pence didn't expect the jury to take so long to come back with a verdict but never doubted they would do the right thing.

"I just honestly had faith they'd come back with first-degree murder," she said.

As Rand read the verdict, Boggess held his head low. He had nothing to say. The convictions meant he would spend the rest of his life in prison without the possibility of parole.

"It's really bittersweet, because it's so sad that someone's going to spend the rest of his life in prison," Pence said. "But it's justice for Danny."

In 1997, Boggess was convicted of first-degree murder for Danny's death and was sentenced to die. Even through police claim Boggess confessed several times to killing him, the North Carolina Supreme Court overturned his death sentence, citing errors by the judge.

Prosecutors argued Boggess killed Danny because his 14-year-old girlfriend, Melanie Gray, wanted the car. Danny was selling it, and they were taking it on a test drive with the intent to steal it.

Defense attorneys presented one witness in the case to support their argument that Boggess's father abused him. And as a result, they said, he was in an altered mental state at the time of the murder. They will appeal the conviction.

Pence said she feels pity for Boggess but doesn't know if she's forgiven him.

"Todd Boggess did have a horrific childhood," Pence said. "There's been no one here to support him. That's just pitiful. As a mother, I can't understand that.

Although she lives outside Wilmington, Pence was in Durham for every day for the trial.

"It's been a long journey," she said. "But you know, a mom will do anything for her child. I would've died for him. I had to do this."

Friday's verdict was an emotional one. Not only for Pence but for the jury members she thanked and hugged as they filed out of the courtroom.

Many had tears in their eyes.

"Nobody wants to convict someone for life," juror Ronald Field said. "This was not a win-win situation. We lost a life with Danny Pence, and now, a life is being lost with Todd Boggess."


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  • firefalcon100 Jun 1, 2007

    a friendly P.S.
    Paul did write most of the new testament, they were letters circulated through the churches that he penned. If you want to grasp at straws you can say his 'stenographer' wrote it, but he still dictated it so it's still his words. Plus, as to the rest of the books, biblical tradition based on testimony given by people closer to Paul's time accounts for the authorship of the books we have names attached to. Personally, I'd rather trust a bunch of dead people who lived in that eras words over people who are alive and are only "guessing" using "critical scholarship". thank you very much

  • firefalcon100 Jun 1, 2007

    notfromhere, I think you need to sit down with a good bible commentary and study your new testament again. If you think that Jesus' teaching on divorce contradicts Moses' then your cracked. you seem to forget the rest of that Bible passage as to the reason Moses ALLOWED divorce. In the beginning divorce was never in God's plan, in Malachi God says He hates divorce. So.. There is no contradiction, only inadequate teaching of biblical truth in your example.

  • NotFromHere Jun 1, 2007

    Catsalive, if you study the New Testament you realize that tons of things in the New Testament contradict things in the Old Testament. Just as an example - Moses' rules on divorce and Jesus' teachings on divorce.

    There are tons of contradictions even in different books of the New Testament. I take the word of Jesus in the Gospel over the writings of Paul (which Paul didn't even write) or the Old Testament.

  • NotFromHere Jun 1, 2007

    Well, sick of thugs 3, that is your interpretation I guess, not mine. When I read that he is talking about capital punishment since the powers that be had brought the woman to him to be stoned to death for adultery.

    And I am not the only one who feels that way, since mainstream Protestant denominations do not support capital punishment. I believe only fundamentalist Christian denominations support capital punishment and thank God they are the minority of Christians in our nation.

    See National Council of Churches for a list of many of the denomiations that are part of the group and support their denunciation of the use of capital punishment. http://www.ncccusa.org/members/index.html

  • Catsalive Jun 1, 2007

    Notfromhere - You took Matt 5:38-44 way out of context. God gave the principle of capital punishment in Genesis 9:6 -"Whoever sheds man's blood by man his blood shall be shed, for in the image of God, He made man." This principle carries into the New Testament. in John 8, the Pharisees were trying to trap Jesus between the Roman law and the Mosaic law. His answer simply served to avoid conflict. Probably the most compelling New Testament Scripture, Romans 13:1-7, teaches that government is ordained by God and we are to obey the government. Finally, the fact that the Apostle Paul used the image of the sword further supports the idea that capital punishment was to be used by government in the New Testament age as well. Rather than abolish the idea of the death penalty, Paul uses the emblem of the Roman sword to reinforce the idea of capital punishment.

  • sick of thugs 3 Jun 1, 2007

    NotFromHere. Christ was not speaking judicially there. That was the sermon on the mount. He certainly was not refering to our way of punishment. Read Romans chapter 1 vs. 32. Paul very clearly states the Lords feelings about Capital Punishment. Also, I will cite Matt. Chapter 15 vs. 4. This specific passage deals with the scribes and pharisees contending with Christ. He Himself gives clarification to capital punishment. Enjoy!

  • sick of thugs 3 Jun 1, 2007

    grenlyn. Here are the answers to your questions. Cited from the article.

    "What happened to 'kidnapping', 'torture', 'assault', etc."

    "Todd Boggess was guilty of first-degree murder, guilty of robbery and guilty of kidnapping her 16-year-old son, Danny."

    There is no law on the books for "torture". Assault encompasses torture. There was no assault because murder presides that charge.

    " And what did this 'little' girl get?"

    She was released in 2001 after serving a minimal sentence. She was only 14 when the crime was commited. Hope this helps.

  • NotFromHere Jun 1, 2007

    sick of thugs 3, try these...

    Matthew 5: 38-44
    John 8:3-11


  • grenlyn1 Jun 1, 2007

    Swisher1, do you really think he lost his freedom? Have you been watching the law suits by criminals behind bars demanding more freedom and getting it? Give me a break. He is free to breath.. what about Danny? Didn't he have the same right??? No Todd took that away from him. Lost his Freedom.. Get real!

  • grenlyn1 Jun 1, 2007

    Sundaysailor, what exactly is your religious affiliation? You have stated one and proclaimed the other. I think your as confused about it as we are. Therefore, rendering you powerless. *yawn*

    How is it that this young man, was stolen along with a vehicle, transported across county lines to another city, bound, beaten, and eventually killed and this man confesses to first-degree murder? What happened to 'kidnapping', 'torture', 'assault', etc. And what did this 'little' girl get? She obviously was an accessory to this crime. What did she get? I agree with everyone, he should have gotten the death penalty.