Local News

Revival Turns to Remembrance for Slain Durham Deacon

Posted September 27, 2007 11:01 p.m. EDT
Updated September 27, 2007 11:26 p.m. EDT

— A weeklong spiritual celebration at a Durham church turned on Thursday into a time of remembrance and mourning for a slain deacon.

Mount Olive Missionary Baptist Church dedicated this week of revival services to the memory of longtime deacon Charles Davis, 89, who was found dead in his home in the Bragtown community on Wednesday night.

"He was like a father to me," Mount Olive's pastor, Rev. James Freeman, said. "Every time I went to him for anything, he was willing to see my vision and listen to me when I shared my vision with him."

Investigators were in Bragtown, knocking on doors, stopping cars and talking to residents to get information. They said they planned to be on the scene again on Friday.

Sources told WRAL Davis was stabbed to death in his home at 2913 Nellowood St. Investigators said the perpetrators stole Davis' car and were spotted Thursday morning, but ditched the car and ran into woods.

WRAL has learned investigators were able to lift some forensic evidence from Davis' car. A rash of break-ins have recently been reported in the neighborhood, but officials were not saying if they're connected to the slaying.

Neighbors said they remembered Davis out in his yard, working with his flowers and plants.

At Mount Olive's Thursday evening service, there was not a dry eye in the church, where Davis' 89th birthday was celebrated two weeks ago.

"I will miss him praying a lot on Sunday morning, because Pastor would call him in sometimes to pray," associate pastor Bessie Davis said.

One church member said Davis was a "child of God," and his presence would always be felt at Mount Olive.

"When he prayed, he opened up the heavens, I do believe," church member William Spears said.