Local News

Former Death Row Inmate Gets New Trial

Posted May 15, 2006

— A new court date has been set for a man originally sentenced to death for killing a Wilmington high school student.

Todd Boggess was convicted and sentenced to die in 1997 for the 1995 beating death of Danny Spence, but the case was overturned last year when the state Supreme Court found errors during the trial.

The new trial is set for Sept. 11.

At the request of the victim's mother, the prosecution will be seeking a first-degree murder conviction against him, but not the death sentence.

"I just want this part to be done," said Sharlene Pence. "It's not going to bring my son back. It's time for this to be over and we'll take whatever conviction we can get."

On Aug. 21, 1995, authorities think Danny Pence, an honor student, was trying to sell his Mustang at a hangout in Wrightsville Beach. Boggess and his girlfriend Melanie Gray were interested in the car, but their intent was to steal it, authorities said.

During the test drive with Pence, Gray and Boggess drove from Wrightsville to a patch of woods in northern Durham, where authorities said they gagged and blindfolded Pence, then bludgeoned him to death with a wooden board.

Gray was released from prison last November.


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