The murder and robbery convictions of a North Carolina man in the death of a co-worker seven years ago were upheld by the state Court of Appeals on Tuesday.
The unanimous ruling by a three-judge panel came barely a year after the state Supreme Court reinstated the convictions of David Myron Dover that a majority on that same panel had dismissed in 2021.
The Supreme Court had declared that the lower appeals court had gotten it wrong when it declared the circumstantial evidence in Dover’s trial was too weak for guilty verdicts. Dover, now, 60, is serving life in prison without parole for the 2016 death of 79-year-old Arthur “Buddy” Davis in Kannapolis. Dover and Davis worked at the same automobile sales store. Their boss found Davis in his home, stabbed more than a dozen times.
The justices in June 2022, however, directed the Court of Appeals to examine Dover’s outstanding claim that the judge in his 2019 trial was wrong to deny his motion for a mistrial.
Dover contended that Superior Court Richard Gottlieb’s failure to tell jurors to disregard a remark made by a prosecutor during closing arguments immediately after Gottlieb agreed with the objection by Dover’s attorney was prejudicial to his case by transferring the burden of proof to Dover. The remarks were related to whether Dover could account for $3,000 that the state accused him of taking from Davis.
Writing for the panel, Judge Hunter Murphy said Gottlieb’s jury instructions later stating it was the state’s job to prove guilt beyond a reasonable doubt “cured any potential problems arising” from the “improper closing argument.” Judges Chris Dillon and John Arrowood joined in Tuesday’s decision.
The Court of Appeals also upheld on Tuesday other first-degree murder convictions.
One panel affirmed trial court rulings and the jury’s verdict that found Jamarkus Smith of Cumberland County guilty in the death of his 3-year-old daughter in 2015. Other panels upheld the murder convictions of Walter Sydney Mitchell in the death of Matthew Pressley in McDowell County in 2018 and of Dazis Davante Bonds in the 2018 death of Devon Khamari Revelle in Pasquotank County.