Local News

New Trial Delayed for Durham Murder Suspect

Posted April 30, 2007 6:39 a.m. EDT
Updated April 30, 2007 6:01 p.m. EDT

— The trial for one of Durham's most notorious murder suspects has been delayed until Tuesday.

Jury selection for Todd Boggess' new trial was supposed to start Monday, but it has been postponed due to a scheduling conflict.

His new trial comes 10 years after a jury convicted him of first-degree murder for the slaying of Danny Pence.

Pence, 16, was found beaten to death in a wooded area of northern Durham County in 1995. Investigators believe Boggess and Melanie Gray kidnapped Pence from, Wilmington, brought him to Durham and killed him before stealing his car.

Gray, who was 14 years old at the time, pleaded guilty to second-degree murder and was set free in 2005.

Boggess was sentenced to die for the killing in 1997. Even through police claim Boggess confessed to Pence's slaying several times, his death sentence was overturned on a technicality, and he was granted a new trial.

"It's very difficult, you know. It was one of the worst times in my life, and to have to go back and repeat it, it's tough," said Sharlene Pence, Danny's mother. "It's very difficult, very difficult to be in the same room as the man who killed your son.

"He was a perfect child. I loved him very much, and I miss him very much."

Pence said her faith and her friends have helped her through the long legal process.

"Half my church came up front and prayed for me (Sunday). It was overwhelming," she said.

Prosecutors aren't seeking the death penalty in the case. If convicted on the first-degree murder charge, Boggess would receive an automatic sentence of life in prison without the possibility of parole.

"I want to remember all the good things about him. 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."