Local News

Court Denies Appeal by Convicted Killer of Deputy, State Trooper

Posted March 8, 2008 3:10 p.m. EST
Updated March 8, 2008 4:40 p.m. EST

— The Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals denied an attempt by a man convicted of killing a deputy and state trooper in 1997 to overturn his conviction and death sentence.

Lawyers for Tilmon Golphin claimed that prosecutors created a racial bias at his May 1998 trial by illegally dismissing two potential jurors who were black. Golphin's defense attorneys also argued that the judge who presided over improperly allowed the jury to hear Golphin's confession.

The court, based in Richmond, Va., rejected both those claims Friday.

Golphin and his brother, Kevin Golphin, were convicted in May 1998 for the murders of state Trooper Ed Lowry and Cumberland County Deputy David Hathcock on Sept. 23, 1997. The jury sentenced both men to death.

In 2005, a state judge changed Kevin Golphin's death sentence to life in prison, following a U.S. Supreme Court ruling that juveniles cannot be sentenced to death.

Kevin Golphin was 17 at the time of the shootings, and Tilmon Golphin was 19.

The brothers shot Lowry and Hathcock while the men were trying to arrest them for car theft and armed robbery committed in South Carolina earlier that day, prosecutors said.

Lowry had pulled the two over off Interstate 95 in Cumberland County, and Hathcock came in to serve as back-up.

The Golphin brothers also attempted to shoot a witness who followed them and called 911, according to court documents. The witness said that the rifle Tilmon Golphin pointed at him clicked and did not fire.