Local News

Jury Finds Three Defendants Guilty In Home Depot Shooting Trial

Posted September 12, 2000

— A Durham jury found three defendants guilty in the beating case of a Home Depot store manager in November.

Ronald Evans, Byron Howard and Aaron Dexter were charged with kidnapping, beating and shooting Will McKeaveney. McKeaveney had been handcuffed, shot through the hands and locked in a rental truck in Durham.

Evans, the man accused of plotting the attack, showed no emotion as the verdict was read. Jurors pronounced Evans guilty of five counts of robbery, kidnapping, assault and larceny. Co-defendants Byron Howard and Aaron Dexter were also convicted of all five charges against them.

McKeaveney says he is grateful and relieved about the verdict.

"To take these criminals off the streets is the right thing not just for me, but for everyone," he says.

McKeaveney testified against the defendants. He believes the prosecution's theory that Evans planned the crime and recruited his young accomplices.

"I strongly believe it was Ronald Evans' plan, and that without him, they would not have been there," he says. "I'm not saying they're angels and wouldn't have committed other crimes without him, but they were strongly influenced by him.

Two other suspects helped convict Evans, Howard and Dexter by trading their testimony for lighter sentences. Vanessa Bowling's son, Keith, was one of them.

"I'm just real glad that they didn't get off scot-free. I'm real happy about that," she says.

The jury deliberated for two days before reaching a verdict at 5:15 p.m. Wednesday. The defense would not comment on the verdict.

The defendants will be back in court Monday for sentencing.


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