Richardson sentenced to 2 life terms in double murder trial - WNCT

Richardson sentenced to 2 life terms in double murder trial

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By Andrea Blanford

GREENVILLE, N.C.- The verdict came down late Wednesday afternoon.  A jury has found James Richardson guilty of first degree murder.  The jury convicted Richardson of killing Andrew Kirby and Landon Blackley in a drive-by shooting outside The Other Place nightclub in Greenville in 2009.

This jury took its time deliberating- four days in fact.

Now nearly two years after the deadly shooting the victims' families say they got justice but James Richardson still says he didn't do it. 

It's the one word Andrew Kirby and Landon Blackley's families have been waiting to hear for years: guilty.

“Is this your verdict so say all of you?” asked Judge Duke. 

“Yes,” answered the jury in unison. 

The jury delivered their verdict at 2:45 on the fourth day of their deliberations.  Their road was not a smooth one.  After the first day, they wanted clarifications on reasonable doubt and the meaning of a hung jury.  On day three, one juror asked to be removed from the jury because he couldn't make a decision on one of the charges.

But now- the unanimous verdict is in and James Richardson has a lot to say about it before sentencing.  “But judge what I'm trying to say is they got the wrong guy,” he said.  “I've been saying that since day one.  You've got the wrong guy.  You've got the wrong guy.”

Richardson said several times the Greenville Police Dept. needs to keep investigating the shooting to find who really did it.

He made references to his children who he says he hasn't seen in two years between his time in the pitt county detention center and state prison.

“I feel like a lot of my rights have been violated,” said Richardson. 

Richardson was found guilty on all four charges: two of discharging a weapon into an occupied building that resulted in the serious bodily injury of Andrew Kirby, and two first degree murder charges- one for Andrew Kirby and the other for Landon Blackley.

On the first degree murder charges- the jury found Richardson guilty on the basis of malice, pre-meditation and deliberation and under the First Degree Felony Murder Rule.

But D.A. Clark Everett removed the death penalty option from sentencing at the urging of the victims' families.

“I think they would like to show mercy to someone who didn't show them any mercy,” said Everett to Judge Duke. 

Immediately after judge duke let Richardson make a statement, he sentenced him to serve two life terms without parole.

It was a very emotional day on both sides of the courtroom.  There's no word yet if Richardson's lawyers will appeal. 

--- Previous Story ---

GREENVILLE, N.C. - "I can only imagine what they going through.  But judge what I'm trying to say is they got the wrong guy.  I've been saying that since day one.  They got the wrong guy.  They got the wrong guy," said James Richardson.

Richardson addressed the court after a jury found him guilty of two counts of first degree murder. Moments later he was sentenced to two life sentences with no parole. The verdict is finally in.  A jury has found James Richardson guilty of first degree murder.

The jury delivered their verdict around 2:45 this afternoon convicting Richardson of killing Andrew Kirby and Landon Blackley in a drive-by shooting outside The Other Place nightclub in Greenville on June 30, 2009.

Then the judge sentenced him to life.

It was a very tense day inside the courtroom leading  up to the verdict.

Throughout jury deliberations, neither side seemed to feel defeated. This entire trial, the prosecution and the defense have acted very confident that they would prevail.

Today, nearly two years after the deadly shooting, the victims' families and supporters finally saw justice. 

Families and friends on both sides of the courtroom waited on the edge of their seats most of the day today as the jury slowly came to a consensus.

For three days nothing was written on their verdict sheets, but just before lunch, the foreman told Judge Duke those sheets were no longer empty.

By 2:30, extra deputies made their way into the court for security.

And at 2:45 the jury came in to deliver their verdict.

Throughout the trial and jury deliberations, Richardson has smiled and even laughed from his seat at the defense table. But hearing the verdict, that he's guilty of killing two men, brought him to tears.

Richardson was found guilty on all four charges: two of discharging a weapon into an occupied building that resulted in the serious bodily injury of Andrew Kirby. And then two first degree murder charges; one for Andrew Kirby and the other for Landon Blackley.

On the first degree murder charges, the jury found Richardson guilty on the basis of malice and under the first degree murder rule.

Prosecutor Clark Everett said this verdict was well worth the wait, “This is a trial with a tremendous amount of evidence and you don't want jurors going in and making quick decisions you want them to go through all the evidence.  It certainly makes the verdict much more respected if you do that."

There were a lot of heavy hearts in the courtroom today.

James Richardson's conviction angered and frustrated his friends and family.

Even before the trial started there were members of the community who warned the public and the media not to reach a decision before all the information came out.

There was a sense of disbelief among those who know Richardson when the verdict came down this afternoon.

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GREENVILLE, N.C. - James Richardson has been sentenced to two life terms.

On the first charge, he received 25-39 months in the NC Dept. of Corrections. On the second charge he received 73-97 months in the NC Dept. of Corrections.

On the third charge of first degree murder of Andrew Kirby, he received life imprisonment without parole and on the fourth charge of first degree murder of Landon Blackley he received life imprisonment without parole.

This after a jury found James Richardson guilty on all four charges earlier this afternoon.

There are two charges of "discharging a firearm into an occupied building that resulted in serious bodily injury to the victim Charles Andrew Kirby."

There is one charge of "first degree murder of Andrew Kirby on basis of malice, pre-meditation and deliberation and under the first degree felony murder rule: that killing was done in perpetration of the murder of Landon Blackley, discharging a firearm into a building inflicting serious bodily injury and discharging a firearm a second time into a building inflicting serious bodily injury."

There is one charge of "first degree murder of Edgar Landon Blackley on basis of malice, pre-meditation and deliberation and under the first degree felony murder rule: that killing was done in perpetration of the murder of Andrew Kirby, discharging a firearm into a building inflicting serious bodily injury and discharging a firearm a second time into a building inflicting serious bodily injury."

Richardson is Guilty on all four counts.

One by one jurors were polled. Richardson sat at defense table with elbows on table, hands clasped in front of face, looking at each juror as they stand.  Dorothy Richardson, his mother, sat behind him with hand on her chest. Cutler rubbed his eyes. Moore looked down at hands.

Sniffles were heard from the victim's side. The families sat up straight in benches- very still.
Everett sat back, legs crossed. Robb leaned forward on desk arms folded on top of desk.

The verdict was read by Judge Duke. The jury stood all together and as Duke read through each charge he asked them, "Was this your unanimous verdict?" They all answered in unison, "Yes."

Judge Duke told the jury there is a second phase to this trial. They've known that from the beginning. He said he'll be with them in 15 minutes after a court recess.

Families were escorted upstairs to DA's office for a brief time, but have since returned to the courtroom.

Addressing the court, Everett said he gave families a road map of where we are at this time. He said the two families know what its like to lose children and it'll never be over.

"I don't think they would want that put on anyone else," he stated.

Everett said it's his own call which direction they go, but what the families want is important. They have asked not to move forward with the sentencing phase. They want to show mercy to someone who didn't show them any mercy.

Everett does not want the death penalty.  He wants to move forward with sentencing phase.

The jury is not in the courtroom.

The prosecution requested life imprisonment without parole. Everett requested one life term followed by a second life term, and then for Class C felony, 73 months for discharging a firearm, and for Class E felony, 25 months for second discharging of a firearm.

Everett asked family if they wanted to be heard. They said no.

Richardson stood at defense table, spoke directly to Duke and said, "We're so quick to judge without doing a thorough investigation."

He said he's innocent and wants GPD to keep looking for the man who did it.

"I'm innocent. I've been saying that since day one. I can only imagine what the family's going through. I feel a lot of my rights have been violated. I feel I've been treated unfair," said Richardson. "I've worked hard all my life."

His sisters cried behind him as he spoke.

"If the police department can just take their time," Richardson said. "It's been two years and I haven't seen my kids at all."

He took a long pause and cried.  He continued to say that he wants officers to "go back out there and continue to search and do their job for my kids sake."

Richardson said he hasn't been treated fairly in the detention center.

Tears stopped, he raised his voice and said, "They've got the wrong guy."

Richardson left to be taken into custody. And then the family walked out of the courtroom.

Judge fills jury in on what they've missed. He let them know there is no second phase.  The sentencing is over and tells the jury they're discharged.  They're free to express their views but are not required to do so. He warned them that they should be careful about what they say.

We'll have more details as they become available online and on-air on WNCT-TV.

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GREENVILLE, N.C. - Despite a higher sense of urgency, the jury deliberating a verdict in the double murder trial of James Richardson is taking a quick break.

This after several short breaks earlier today and a working lunch in which they asked for Chik-fil-A to be brought in.  They resumed deliberations at 1:05 P.M.

Like before, there is still an increased law enforcement presence downtown.

This is the fourth day the jury has deliberated whether Richardson is guilty of killing Landon Blackley and Andrew Kirby and outside The Other Place nightclub in June 2009.

Late yesterday, one juror asked to be removed from the jury.

They couldn’t make a decision on the charge of whether Richardson discharged a weapon into an occupied building that resulted in serious bodily injury to Andrew Kirby.

Judge Duke told the jury it’s their duty to return a unanimous verdict. This morning, he laid out the rules one more time, “In the course of your deliberations, you should not hesitate to reexamine your own views and change your opinion.”

At the end of the day yesterday, the jury had not reached a unanimous verdict on any of the four charges.

If convicted of murder, Richardson could face the death penalty. 

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What goes on during  the jury deliberation process?  Nine on Your Side asked a local attorney to weigh in.

By: Sasha Horne

"This is a high stakes case, about as high stakes as you get,” said David Sutton, a former prosecutor who now works as a defense attorney in Greenville.      

Sutton is not affiliated with the Richardson case, but he's worked as a trial attorney for more than 20 years and helped us gain some insight into exactly what goes on in the jury deliberation process. 

It seems there are some people in there who are diametrically opposed to each other and there are probably some very high feelings in that jury room, said Sutton. 

After reviewing all of the evidence and testimony, if all twelve members of the jury don't agree, that's where a hung jury could come into play. 

"When they ask about a hung jury, someone is denoting that there is disagreement about material important facts or elements of the charges," explained Sutton. 

Sutton says there are several factors the jury will need to take into consideration to convict James Richardson of first degree murder.

“In a murder case, you have to prove the person specifically intended to kill a given individual, premeditation, they planned it out, and they deliberated about the offense before they committed it.  You have to prove those elements amongst others to come back with a guilty verdict for first degree murder."

Deliberations continue Wednesday and there is no time limit on how long a jury can spend in deliberation.

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GREENVILLE N.C. - One juror asked to be removed from the jury after the third day of deliberations in James Richardson’s double murder trial.

Richardson is accused of killing Andrew Kirby and Landon Blackley in a drive-by shooting outside The Other Place nightclub in Greenville nearly two years ago.

The jury has hit a very specific road block.

Ten women and two men have spent three days in the jury room upstairs deliberating James Richardson’s guilt or innocence.

The jury sent a note to Judge Duke just after five o'clock Tuesday. It said they took another vote on the charge of whether James Richardson discharged a weapon into an occupied building that resulted in serious bodily injury to Andrew Kirby.  The note said that one juror could not make a decision about it and that juror wanted to be removed from the jury. 

Judge Duke reminded the jury it's their duty to deliver a unanimous verdict and told the jury they could come back Wednesday morning to continue deliberations. 

The jury also told Judge Duke they have not yet reached a unanimous verdict on any of the charges. 

Tuesday morning they spent 40 minutes looking over the transcript from Cario Arrington’s testimony.

Arrington was a key witness for the state. Prosecutors called him to testify on the second day of trial.

Arrington was with James Richardson the night of the shooting and told police the next day that he saw Richardson run to his white BMW, drive around the corner and toward the club just moments before the shooting.

But when Arrington got on the witness stand, he told the jury it wasn’t all that clear.

Not really but, as it went by so quick I couldn’t like really see directly into the car,” he testified.

“So you don’t know who was driving, is that correct,” asked A.D.A. Kimberly Robb.

“No, I really don’t know who was driving,” answered Arrington.

Arrington also testified for the jury that while he didn’t know who was driving, he only saw one person inside the car. 

Even that bit of information contradicts what two witnesses testified for the defense. They said at least two people were inside the car at the time of the shooting.

Richardson faces two counts of discharging a weapon into an occupied building and two counts of first degree murder.  If convicted of murder, he could face the death penalty. 

The jury will return at 9 o'clock Wednesday morning to continue deliberations. 

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GREENVILLE, N.C. - The jury in the double murder trial of James Richardson will be back at it Wednesday morning.

This after a juror asked to be removed because they cannot make a decision regarding the charge of discharging a weapon into an occupied building. That is a secondary charge.

Judge Duke told the jury its their DUTY to reach a verdict and they must continue deliberations.

Duke gave the jurors the option to continue today or tomorrow. They chose tomorrow.

We'll have more tonight at 6 on Eyewitness News 9.

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GREENVILLE, N.C. -- Richardson is accused of killing Andrew Kirby and Landon Blackley in a drive-by shooting outside The Other Place nightclub in June 2009.

This morning the jury reviewed the transcript of Cario Arrington’s testimony. 

He testified for the state on the second day of trial.

Arrington was with Richardson the night of the shooting.

He told police the day after he saw Richardson drive his white BMW toward the club just moments before the shooting.

But during his testimony, Arrington said it wasn’t that clear.

“Not really but, as it went by so quick I couldn’t like really see directly into the car," said Arrington.

“So you don’t know who was driving, is that correct?” asked A.D.A. Kimberly Robb.

“No I really don’t know who was driving.”

The jury took about 40 minutes to review that testimony this morning- they’ve been deliberating ever since.

Stay with Eyewitness News 9 and WNCT.com for the very latest as this day progresses.

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GREENVILLE, N.C. - Tuesday, a jury will continue deliberating their verdict in James Richardson's double murder trial.

Richardson is accused of killing Andrew Kirby and Landon Blackley in a drive-by shooting outside The Other Place nightclub nearly two years ago.

They deliberated for three hours on Friday before Judge Duke dismissed them for the weekend. They continued this morning at nine o'clock stopping only twice; once for lunch and once to review the testimony of a key witness.

When the jury sends a note to Judge Duke, the courtroom stands still.  But once again, it's not the verdict.

The jury asked to review Cario Arrington's testimony Monday.

Arrington testified for the state on the second day of trial. He's a childhood friend of Richardson and was with him the night of the shooting. Arrington says he saw Richardson drive past him in a white BMW and toward The Other Place night club moments before the shooting.

Judge Duke let the jury listen to Arrington's interview with police recorded the day after the shooting. 

"Who else was in the car with James when he left from that one way parking space?" asked Greenville Police detective Connie Elks.

"Nobody.  He was by himself," said Arrington.

“Are you positive that you weren't with him or that you didn't get in the car with him, Elks asked.

“Positive," said Arrington.

Richardson's defense lawyers objected from the beginning, saying Arrington's prior statements were not given under oath and they would confuse the jury.

They motioned instead to give the jury the court reporter's audio recording of Arrington's testimony.

Judge Duke denied that motion and told the jury it's their duty to remember testimony as it was given on the witness stand.  The most the court can give them is the transcript.

The jury will return tomorrow morning at nine to get that transcript of Arrington's testimony and continue deliberations.

Throughout the trial, Richardson's defense lawyers have questioned Arrington's credibility, citing his history of felony drug charges.

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GREENVILLE, N.C. - James Richardson will have to wait until at least Monday to hear whether the jury in his double murder trial decides his guilt or innocence.

Three hours of deliberations ended without a verdict Friday.  Jurors are definitely taking this decision seriously.  They came back into court a couple of times with questions.

Once to get a closer look at pictures of the BMW used in the shooting that killed Andrew Kirby and Landon Blackley and a video of a white car as it drove from the scene.  That's just some of the evidence they have to consider.

Jurors have to weigh two weeks of physical evidence.  Photos of the Other Place nightclub, the BMW used in the drive-by shooting and residue from the gun prosecutors say James Richardson used to kill Landon Blackley and Andrew Kirby.  A story they weaved together through witness testimony to place Richardson at the scene.

Darin Kennedy testified he got thrown out of the club a few minutes after Richardson when they got into a fight.  Bullets flew right as he left.

"I saw sparks like a gunshot, sparks from the gun.  The orange, the sparks fly out a gun and I yelled at my friends.  'Get down, get down.'  I sprinted back inside the O.P. as fast as I could," Darin Kennedy said on the first day of testimony.

Prosecution witness Jeff Sealey testified he saw Richardson run to a car and open the trunk.

"Mr. Richardson opened the passenger side door, I mean driver side door of a white BMW, popped the trunk, go into the trunk and pull a pistol out, cock it back," Jeff Sealey said on the third day of testimony.

Defense lawyers pointed out in their closing argument that Sealey testified Richardson wore blue jeans, not shorts like everyone else.  Prosecutors dealt a blow to the defense claim that no one actually saw who was in the car and pulled the trigger in the drive-by shooting when they called witness Vidal Thorpe on the fourth day of testimony.

"Were you able to see the person's face inside the white BMW?” questioned Assistant District Attorney Kimberly Robb.

“I saw the side of it,” testified Vidal Thorpe. 

“Did you recognize the face?” Robb asked.

“Yes,” answered Thorpe.

“And, who was it?” Robb asked.

“The defendant," Thorpe testified.

Defense lawyers tried to raise doubt in the prosecutions case with two key witnesses.  One of them, Nicholas Golden, said he saw everything happen in front of him.  He testified he saw three people in the BMW when prosecutors maintain there was only one.

"He was wearing a black and red baseball cap and sunglasses.  I looked at him dead in the face, but I have no clue who he is," Nicholas Golden said on the ninth day of testimony.

Golden also described the shooter as wearing a black t-shirt, contradicting other witnesses who said Richardson wore a white shirt.  On cross-examination, his recollection wasn't as clear.  Defense witness Dearl Powell testified he let Richardson borrow his Cadillac the night of the shooting and saw two other men drive away in the BMW.

Besides taking a long look at the street camera pictures of a white car driving from the scene, jurors also came back to get clarification about the court's definition of reasonable doubt and asked about the implications of a hung jury.  It seems to signal there is at least one holdout.  Those questions clearly upset the victims' relatives.  Some of them had their heads in their laps after that.

Deliberations are scheduled to pick up again at nine Monday morning.

---Prior Story---

GREENVILLE, NC - The jury deciding the fate of James Richardson in a June 2009 double homicide is out for the weekend. Deliberations will continue on Monday. Both the prosecution and defense wrapped up their closing arguments on Friday. The jury started deliberation but came back to the court room several times to ask Judge Duke procedural questions.

The jury asked about the definition of a hung jury, including the implications and outcome of a hung jury. The jury also asked questions about reasonable doubt. They then went back to deliberate before asking a few additional questions. After deliberating for more than three hours, Judge Duke gave the jury the option of continuing deliberations or coming back to it on Monday.  

The jury was dismissed shortly after 7 p.m. They will return on Monday to continue their deliberations.

---Prior Story--- 

GREENVILLE, N.C. - Both sides rested their case in the James Richardson double murder trial and made it through closing arguments Friday.

Then, late in the afternoon, the judge charged the jury and sent them to deliberate. Shortly after that, there were a couple of questions the judge had to answer.

From one side of the courtroom, justice looks very different than it does from the other.

Prosecutor Kimberly Robb spoke for Andrew Kirby and Landon Blackley's families, “It's not the holidays that are going to be hard.  It's every single day."

She and Clark Everett walk the jury back through the evidence and witness testimony, while defense attorneys Tommy Moore and Jeff Cutler point out what they call pot holes in their road map of evidence.

Tommy Moore questioned the accuracy of witnesses who say Richardson pulled the gun out of his white BMW, “Jeff Sealey has it wrong.  He's not lying, he had it wrong.  The man he saw was wearing blue jeans."

He pointed to the lack on gun shot residue found on the car and the convenient timing of a key witness.

Vidal Thorpe says he saw Richardson shoot the gun but didn't tell anyone until a week before trial.

Clark Everett said that road goes both ways.  Prosecutors didn't know about the woman who drove Richardson to Raleigh the night of the shooting until last week.

“We didn't know who she was.  They did.  The last person they wanted to see in this courtroom was LaToya Boyd," said Everett.

Her testimony kept Cario Arrington and Richardson's brother Andre out of the white BMW and put James Richardson right next to the car just after the shooting. 

Throughout the trial, the defense has alluded to the fact that Andre Richardson was also wearing a white shirt that night, but Everett reminded the jury that witnesses vouch for his whereabouts and that Andre never testified for his own brother's defense.

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GREENVILLE, N.C.- Testimony is over in James Richardson's double murder trial.  The jury will hear closing arguments first thing Friday morning.  Richardson is accused of gunning down two people outside a Greenville night club in June of 2009.

Dearl Powell was there when James Richardson turned himself into police nearly two years ago and has been working for his defense team ever since.  Powell was not at The Other Place night club and did not witness the shooting- but he says Richardson didn't do it.  

James Richardson is like family to Dearl Powell.  They grew up together and have several friends in common, but when Richardson came into town on June 29, 2009- two strangers dropped him off. 

"When James came up to me I said what the eff?  Who is that right there?  Because I don't like people coming to my house I don't know,” said Powell. 

Powell says Richardson got out of the back seat of a white BMW and the two men in the front drove off.  Richardson stayed at his apartment in Treybrook for a few hours then borrowed Powell's bronze Cadillac for the night.  The next time Powell saw Richardson was at 2:30 in the morning when he heard a knock at the door. 

“And then when I opened up the door I seen that he had, his face looked like it had been scuffed up, you know he had blood on his arm and his shirt had blood on it.  And I said what the h?  and I said what happened?”

Richardson gave Powell the keys to his Cadillac and left, but Powell didn't see who he was with or what car he left in.

On cross-examination, prosecutor Clark Everett wanted to clear something up.  "You knew that for a fact that he left your house at ten o'clock in that Cadillac and came back at 2:30 is that true?”

"Yes," said Powell.  "He brought my car back." 

Powell says he told Richardson's private investigator Carolyn Melvin about the two mystery men in the BMW right after the shooting, but didn't tell police until one year later.

That was the last witness the defense called before resting their case this afternoon.  Friday the jury will hear closing arguments from both sides and judge duke will charge them to make a verdict.

Richardson is facing two counts of first degree murder and two counts of discharging a weapon into an occupied building.  If convicted of murder he could face the death penalty. 

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GREENVILLE, N.C. - James Richardson's defense lawyers have rested their case in his double murder trial.

The state has called The Other Place night club owner Matt Blackman back to the stand.  He testified for the state last week. 

Yesterday, two witnesses who testified for the defense said a hole in the glass window of The Other Place night club was there before the shooting started.

Blackman is now testifying that the hole in the glass window was not there until after the drive-by shooting.

Judge Duke is sending the jury home for the day. Closing arguments will begin first thing Friday morning.

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GREENVILLE, N.C. - James Richardson's defense lawyers spent this morning challenging the credibility of a key witness who testified for the state. 

Richardson is accused of gunning down two people outside of a Greenville night club two years ago.

Cario Arrington was with him that night and he testified for the state on the second day of the trial. Arrington was arrested on drug charges on June 30, 2009, the day of the shooting, and defense lawyers say the state worked out a plea agreement with Arrington to get him on the stand to testify about the drive-by shooting.

The state said they did no such thing. “The defense had the opportunity to question the live witness when he was on the stand. It's true," said Kimberly Robb, A.D.A.

Judge Duke said showing Arrington's criminal history in court could confuse the jury, but he allowed the defense to show the documents anyway. 

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GREENVILLE, N.C.- It took nine days, but the defense is now up to bat in the double murder trial of James Richardson.  Wednesday the state rested its case against the man they say gunned down two people outside The Other Place night club in Greenville nearly two years ago.  The defense didn't waste anytime getting some new witnesses on the stand.

The first witness to testify for the defense was at The Other Place night club, standing five feet away from Andrew Kirby when he saw him get shot.  The way he describes the shooter is something the jury has never heard before.  The drive-by shooting lasted a matter of seconds, and Nicholas Golden saw the whole thing happen right in front of him.

"The shooter shot three or four more times and I saw the guy get hit twice, curl over and fall and then fall back into the ground,” said Golden.

For the first eight days of trial, prosecutors called witnesses who say one person was in the white BMW.  Golden saw three- a driver who might have had dreadlocks, one person in the backseat, and a shooter.

“He was wearing a black and red baseball cap and sunglasses,” said Golden.  “I looked at him dead in the face but I have no clue who he is.”

Golden says the shooter was wearing a black t-shirt.  His testimony contradicts others' who testified James Richardson was wearing a white t-shirt that night.  A few of them saw Richardson get into the white BMW after grabbing a gun from the trunk.  And one witness says he saw Richardson leaning out of the car, shooting the gun. 

Another contradiction: earlier, prosecutors presented a hole in the club's glass window as a potential bullet hole.  But Golden says it was there before the shooting started.  And what was once a clear image- over time has turned out to be a little blurry.  

"I'm guessing that night I saw a silhouette behind in the passenger seat,” said Golden. 

On cross examination, district attorney Clark Everett managed to shake the memory of the witness.

"From that statement I'm saying it's a black shirt but from my memory I don't…the colors change a lot,” said Golden. 

So far in this trial, no two witnesses have described the shooter in the same way.  One of Golden's friends also testified he saw the shooter wearing a dark t-shirt, sunglasses and a hat.  But he says the shooter's arm was coming out of the back passenger side window of the BMW.

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GREENVILLE, N.C. - District Attorney Clark Everett rested the State's case against James Richardson on the ninth day of his double murder trial.    

Richardson is accused of gunning down Landon Blackley and Andrew Kirby outside of The Other Place night club in Greenville in June of 2009.

Court began Wednesday afternoon at 1pm.  The State published a stack of photos to the jury.  They were printed images of everything the jury has seen over the last several days on a TV monitor: the white BMW used in the drive-by shooting, the crime scene at The Other Place night club, and the parking lot of Pastime Billiards & Pub where James Richardson was seen with a gun a month before the deadly shooting.

The State then rested their case and Defense Attorney Jeff Cutler called their first witness to testify. 

25-yr-old Nicholas Golden testified he got to The Other Place night club around 1:30am on June 30, 2009.  He saw the altercation inside the club and walked outside when the staff made everyone leave.  He heard multiple gunshots, saw Andrew Kirby get shot, and saw the white BMW.

Golden says he saw the shooter hanging out of the passenger side window.  He described him as a black male wearing a black t-shirt, a black and red baseball cap and sunglasses.

Golden says there were two people in the car.  "I am one hundred percent certain," he said. He says there was possibly a third person in the car and he thinks the driver had dreadlocks.

Several witnesses who testified for the State say James Richardson was wearing a white t-shirt the night of the shooting. 

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GREENVILLE, N.C. -- Testimony in the double-murder trial of James Richardson enters a ninth day Wednesday morning.

     On Tuesday, one witness said Richardson, the man accused of killing two people in a drive-by shooting in June of 2009, partied at a restaurant in Maryland two days after the deadly shooting in downtown Greenville.

    Former security guard Patrick Goodwin says on July 2, 2009, Richardson was at Sideline restaurant in Maryland with a small group of women.

   Two nights earlier, Wayne Jacobs, gave his friend Andrew Kirby CPR after he was shot outside the other place night club.

     Greenville Police detective Shawn Moore also testified that he spoke to Richardson, his childhood friend, after the shooting.

     "I didn't want to be involved; once the third phone call was made to me that made me involved," Moore said.

     Moore suggested Richardson turn himself in and on July 4 of 2009, he took Richardson into custody.

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GREENVILLE, N.C. - One witness says James Richardson, the man accused of killing two people in a drive-by, partied at a restaurant in Maryland two days after the deadly shooting in downtown Greenville.

Prosecutors are now focusing on what happened after the shooting.

It's the eighth day of testimony in Richardson's double murder trial. 

Tuesday, witnesses brought two very different stories about two different days in the summer of 2009. Both of them involved the same person - James Richardson. 

On Tuesday, June 30 2009, outside The Other Place nightclub in Greenville, Wayne Jacobs witnessed a tragedy.

"We heard gunshots and I looked at my friend Andrew and he was laying on the ground beside me,” said Jacobs. He saw Andrew Kirby was shot and started giving him CPR.

Later that night at the hospital, Jacobs got a phone call. It was James Richardson and he had a question.

“You ok,” answered Jacobs.

“He asked you if you were ok,” reiterated A.D.A. Kimberly Robb.

"Yes ma'am," answered Jacobs.

“And what did you say,” asked Robb.

“I said don't call my phone anymore,” said Jacobs.

Two days later on July 2nd in Maryland, Patrick Goodwin witnessed a party.

He was working security at Sideline Restaurant where he says Richardson was drinking top shelf cognac with two or three women. When Goodwin asked one of the ladies to stop dancing on the furniture, Richardson told him not to worry about it. 

"At that time he started rapping on the microphone under some songs," said Goodwin.

Greenville Police detective Shawn Moore said his childhood friend James Richardson called him several times in those few days after the shooting, "What I heard about the situation that happened downtown. And then I knew who the suspect was. I didn't want to be involved. Once the third phone call was made to me that made me involved."

Moore suggested Richardson turn himself in and on July 4th, he took Richardson into custody.

Late last week, prosecutors presented DNA evidence collected from the white BMW used in the drive-by shooting.

Tuesday, an SBI crime lab expert testified that DNA found on the steering wheel and drinking cups left inside the car belongs to James Richardson. 

It's already known that Richardson borrowed that car from a friend a few days before the shooting. 

--- Previous Story ---

GREENVILLE, N.C. – A former security guard testified James Richardson partied at a Maryland restaurant two days after two people were killed in a drive-by shooting. 

Richardson is on trial for the drive-by that killed two men outside The Other Place nightclub in Greenville in June 2009.

Patrick Goodwin was a security guard at Sideline Restaurant in Maryland in 2009.  He said James Richardson was there on July 2, 2009 drinking top shelf Cognac, dancing, and rapping over the restaurant’s microphone. 

Goodwin told the jury two or three young ladies were with Richardson that night and one danced on the couch inside the restaurant.  District Attorney Clark Everett asked Goodwin if she was in the courtroom.  Goodwin said yes and pointed to a young lady who is sitting on the bench behind the defense.  Judge Duke asked her to stand but did not ask her to give her name. 

Goodwin said that same night, Richardson and his party went to the Japanese steakhouse across the breezeway from Sideline Restaurant.  Prosecutors showed surveillance video from the restaurant so Goodwin could identify Richardson.  In the video, Richardson is seen wearing a white t-shirt and a white fitted hat and is sitting next to the same lady from earlier that night.

--- Previous Story ---

GREENVILLE, N.C. - The man who tried saving his friend's life after he was shot says the suspect called him later that night.

James Richardson is on trial for the drive-by that killed two men outside The Other Place nightclub in Greenville in June 2009.

One of the victim's former roommates Wayne Jacobs testified this morning in a Greenville courtroom.

Jacobs was standing next to Andrew Kirby when he was shot and gave Kirby CPR on the sidewalk. On his way to the hospital, Jacobs got a call from Richardson. He says Richardson asked him if he was ok.

Wayne told Richardson not to call anymore and later broke his phone because he was upset that his friend had died.

Greenville Police detective and childhood friend of James Richardson, Shawn Moore told the jury that Richardson called him several times after the shooting.

The first time Richardson called him, Moore says Richardson asked if the situation was "effed" up and if he had "effed" up.

A Greenville Police investigator showed the jury where he found gunshot residue inside the passenger-side door of the car used in the drive-by shooting. 

Nine On Your Side will have the latest in the double-murder trial tonight at six. 

---Previous Story---

GREENVILLE, N.C.- A crime lab expert says shell casings found at the scene of a local double-murder were all fired from the same gun.  James Richardson is on trial for the drive by murder of two men outside The Other Place nightclub in June 2009.                

SBI agent Scott Jones used a police officer's semi-automatic gun to demonstrate for the jury how it works.  He testified shell casings found at the other place night club and on the white BMW used in the drive-by shooting were fired from the same gun and that's not all he found.

SBI Crime Lab Examiner Scott Jones says guns are just like fingerprints- no two leave the same mark. 

"When we see the agreement of detail on a general level then we'll look further at that finer detail for finer impressions or individual characteristics,” said Jones.  “We're actually looking for a match."

Jones says markings left on the 45-caliber shell casings and bullet fragments found at the crime scene tie them all to the same type of gun. “It is my opinion, based on the characteristics here that these items were fired from a Hi-Point brand firearm.”

And that's not all. One month before the deadly shooting downtown, Samuel Crotts says James Richardson came with some friends to Pastime Billiards and Pub.  He says Richardson was loud, spent a lot of money at the bar and left around closing time.  Minutes later, Crotts heard three or four gun shots in the parking lot.  "I remember hearing shots,” said Crotts.  “I remember one of the girls saying it was somebody's car back-firing I said no, that's not a car back-firing."

He went outside and saw Richardson walking around his car with a gun in his hand.  Jones analyzed the 45-caliber shell casings found in the parking lot that night.  He says two of the three were fired from the same gun that fired shell casings found outside The Other Place nightclub and inside the white BMW. “This list may not be all inclusive and should not be used to eliminate any suspect firearms,” he said on cross-examination.

An FBI agent, Greenville police officer, and a firearm dealer testified that James Richardson legally bought and carried with him a Hi-Point 45 caliber semi-automatic pistol. 

The last witness of the day was Greenville Police Detective Shawn Moore- a childhood friend of James Richardson.  He says Richardson called him later in the day on June 30 2009- after the shooting- and asked him, quote "What is the situation" and quote "Did I eff up?"  Moore told him yes and suggested he turn himself in.  Four days later, Richardson went to his grandmother's house where Moore took him into custody. 

--- Previous Story ---

GREENVILLE, N.C. -- A local bartender says James Richardson shot a gun in a shopping center parking lot one month before two people were killed in a drive-by shooting.  

Richardson is on trial, accused of shooting and killing Landon Blackley and Andrew Kirby outside of a night club in downtown Greenville nearly two years ago.  

Samuel Crotts told the jury he was working at Pastime Billiards and Pub on May 25, 2009 when James Richardson came in with some friends.  He says Richardson was very loud and spent a lot of money at the bar.

When Richardson left the bar, Crotts heard three or four gun shots and went outside.  That's when he saw Richardson walking around a white, four-door Sedan with a gun in his hand.  

Crotts says no one was hurt.  He found three 45 caliber automatic shell casings on the ground but didn't give them to police until late August- two months after the deadly shooting outside The Other Place night club.  

SBI Crime Lab Senior Examiner Scott Jones is on the stand.  He analyzed evidence collected from the crime scene and the white BMW used in the drive-by shooting on June 30, 2009.

 

--- Previous Story ---

GREENVILLE, N.C. -- Day seven of testimony in the double murder trial of James Richardson will pick up again this morning.

Prosecutors will continue laying out their case. Witness testimony so far came from the man Richardson got into a fight with inside The Other Place nightclub before the drive by shooting that killed Landon Blackley and Andrew Kirby.

One witness identified Richardson as the man who opened fire from the passing car.

Defense attorneys have maintained no one actually saw who fired the gun.

---Previous Story---

GREENVILLE, N.C.- Investigators say they found James Richardson's finger prints all over the white BMW used in a drive-by shooting nearly two years ago.  Richardson is accused of shooting and killing Landon Blackley and Andrew Kirby outside of the other place night club in downtown Greenville.  Investigators have shown the jury dozens of pieces of evidence, but there are still some unanswered questions. 

Greenville Police Officer Wyatt Coltrain has analyzed thousands of finger prints over the last 20 years.  But in James Richardson's capital murder trial- only a few really matter.

“Rolled ink impressions are the finger prints taken when someone is arrested or charged,” said Coltrain. 

Coltrain lifted six of James Richardson's prints from the BMW but he lifted just as many that could not be identified.  About a dozen other prints were clear enough to be tested and were sent to AFIS- the Automated Fingerprint Identification System- one week before the trial.

The results came back with no matches but defense attorney Tommy Moore asked Cpl. Ralph Mendenhall what took so long to send them in.

“They're sent through AFIS in order to identify the prints correct?” asked Moore.

“Attempt to identify, yes,” said Mendenhall. 

“And if those prints were identified to someone then that would be important to this investigation would it not?”

“That would be correct,” Mendenhall answered. 

Coltrain also took DNA samples from a water bottle and a Wendy's drink cup found in the BMW.   But Moore says an orange juice bottle from the back dash was never tested.  “Did you remember collecting that?”

“No sir, I did not,” said Coltrain. 

“You did not remember collecting that.  And that was never tested for DNA was it?”

“Not to my knowledge, no sir.”

DNA samples collected from the white BMW were sent to the SBI lab in Raleigh for testing.  Those results have not been shared with the jury.  The trial will continue on Monday. 

--- Previous Story ---

GREENVILLE, N.C. - Investigators say they found James Richardson's fingerprints all over the white BMW used in a drive-by shooting nearly two years ago. 

But that might not tell the whole story. 

Richardson is accused of shooting and killing Landon Blackley and Andrew Kirby outside of The Other Place nightclub in downtown Greenville.

Greenville Police investigator Wyatt Coltrain processed the crime scene and the car used in the shooting.  He found finger and palm prints on the white BMW along with some DNA samples. 

Most of the prints belong to James Richardson as well as the DNA but it’s already known that Richardson borrowed that car from a friend a few days before the shooting and that he drove it downtown that night before the shooting.

Officer Coltrain testified he could not identify at least two of the prints found on driver door of the white BMW.

We'll have more on today’s trial testimony tonight at six.

--- Previous Story ---

GREENVILLE, N.C. - The woman who spent the night with James Richardson after a deadly shooting in Greenville testified today.

Richardson is accused of killing Landon Blackley and Andrew Kirby outside The Other Place night club in June of 2009.

Prosecutors didn't find out about one witness until after the trial began. Greenville Police detective Connie Elks interviewed Latoya Boyd at her home in Greenville two nights ago.

Boyd has talked with James Richardson’s private investigator Carolyn Melvin several times since the night of the shooting. She told the jury she didn’t talk to police sooner because she didn’t think she had done anything wrong.

Latoya Boyd drove her silver Toyota Rav 4 to meet James Richardson downtown. They were at The Other Place night club with Cario Arrington and Richardson’s brother Andre when a scuffle turned into a fight on the sidewalk.

Boyd says Richardson ran off, the crowd broke up, and as she was walking to her car she heard gun shots. She started running, got to her SUV and followed Arrington who was in a white Cadillac.

She met up with Arrington, Andre and another friend and they picked up Richardson on Bancroft Avenue, one street over from his mother’s house on McDowell.

Corporal Ralph Mendenhall processed the white BMW used in the drive-by shooting. He took pictures of the car where it was found the morning of the shooting in front of Richardson’s mother’s house on McDowell Street.

“Looking at the car I observed a spent shell casing that was on the trunk window area,” testified Mendenhall.

He said it was branded a CCI 45 automatic.  He also found a 45 caliber bullet in the driver’s seat.

Just after the shooting, officer Wyatt Coltrain collected evidence from the crime scene. The victims’ mothers struggle to watch the video he shot that day.

“Some of the items there on the sidewalk are stuff that was left by ems.  Those markers with the numbers on them are evidence markers, yes sir,” testified Coltrain.

They mark bullet fragments and shell casings scattered outside the bar.

He found two different brands of casings, but says they could have all been fired from the same caliber gun- a 45 caliber.

The state asked Latoya Boyd if she had ever seen Richardson with a gun in the past. She said yes, and described it as an automatic.

Latoya Boyd told the jury when she saw Richardson that night after the shooting, he was angry and asked her to take him to Raleigh. Boyd drove Richardson, his brother Andre and Arrington to Raleigh where they spent the night in a hotel.

The next morning, Boyd dropped Richardson off at a barber shop and says that was the last time she saw him.

--- Previous Story ---

GREENVILLE, N.C. - The woman who was with James Richardson in Greenville the night two people were killed tells the jury she drove him to Raleigh after the downtown shooting.

Latoya Boyd describes the altercation that started inside The Other Place nightclub in the early morning hours of June 30, 2009. She says the bouncers kicked their group out of the club when things escalated. She says the bouncers "jumped" Richardson and beat him up once outside. Boyd saw Richardson get up and leave. Moments later as she was walking away, she heard gun shots. Boyd took off running, got in her silver Toyota Rav 4 and followed Richardson's friend Cario Arrington and his brother Andre Richardson who were both in a white Cadillac.

A short while after the shooting, they picked Richardson up on Bancroft Ave. in Greenville. Lt.Anthony White with the Greenville Police Dept. testified Wednesday he found the white BMW used in the drive-by shooting parked in front of Richardson's mother's house on McDowell St., just one block over from Bancroft Ave.

Boyd says they all four went to their friend Damien's house but didn't go inside. Richardson told Boyd he wanted to leave and asked her to take him to Raleigh. "He was just pissed and wanted to get out of town," said Boyd in a recorded interview with Detective Connie Elks.

She drove Richardson, his brother Andre and their friend Cario Arrington to Raleigh where James Richardson paid for two hotel rooms at the Sleep Inn.

The next morning, Boyd says Richardson stepped out of the hotel room to talk with Andre and Arrington and that was the last time she saw him.

On cross examination, Boyd testified she only saw Arrington get in the white Cadillac after the shooting. She did not see Andre Richardson, who was also wearing a white shirt that night, until they all three met to go pick up James Richardson on Bancroft Ave.

--- Previous Story ---

     GREENVILLE, N.C. -- Testimony is expected to continue for a fifth day later in the double-murder trial of jams Richardson.

     Wednesday’s testimony got heated when witness Vidal Thorpe took the stand. Thorpe says he saw James Richardson’s arm sticking out of the car, shooting the gun.

     The defense tried stopping Thorpe from testifying because he didn't tell anyone what he saw until two weeks ago.  Prosecutors argued that it doesn't matter how long it takes a witness to come forward. The judge finally ruled that it's up to the jury to judge a witness's credibility.

     Richardson is on trial for the shooting deaths of two people in a drive-by two years ago in downtown Greenville.

---Previous Story---

GREENVILLE, N.C. - Testimony in a local double-murder trial drew some heated reaction in the courtroom Wednesday. 

James Richardson faces two counts of first degree murder in the deaths of Landon Blackley and Andrew Kirby in a drive-by shooting in downtown Greenville nearly two years ago. 

For four days witnesses have taken the stand to tell the jury what they saw in the early morning hours of June 30, 2009.  But when the state called a key witness to testify, Judge Duke made the jury leave the room. 

Vidal Thorpe was at The Other Place nightclub the night of the shooting and said he saw James Richardson shoot the gun. The defense tried stopping Thorpe from testifying because he didn’t tell anyone what he saw until two weeks ago. Prosecutors argued back that it doesn’t matter how long it takes a witness to come forward and Judge Duke ruled it’s up to the jury to judge a witness’s credibility.

When the jury returned, Thorpe was sworn in and shared a familiar story, “Next I saw the defendant walking out the door saying he’d be back.”

He heard Richardson make an angry threat and a few minutes later he heard gunshots. When he ran outside, he saw a white BMW. 

(‘Were you able to see the person’s face inside the white BMW?’, asked Kimberly Robb A.D.A.) “I saw the side of it.”

(‘Did you recognize that face?’ she asked.) “Yes.”

(‘And who was it?’)

“The defendant.” 

He said it was the defendant. James Richardson. 

On cross examination of the next witness, a bouncer at The Other Place night club Kwabena Green, Green testified another tall man wearing a white polo shirt was with Richardson that night and was also making threats when they were kicked out of the club, “They backed up, said they were going to their car and coming back and they were going to shoot.”

The jury watched surveillance video of a white car speeding west down 5th street just moments after the shooting, but investigators say zooming in would distort the image.

Several Greenville Police officers and Lt. Anthony White testified today.

Lt. White went to Richardson's mother's house on McDowell Street in Greenville around seven o'clock the morning of the shooting.

He identified the white BMW parked out front as Ronnell Peterson's, the man Richardson borrowed the car from a few days before the shooting.

--- Previous Story ---

GREENVILLE, N.C. - Defense lawyers tried keeping one witness off the stand today in James Richardson’s double-murder trial. 

Richardson faces two counts of first degree murder in the deaths of Landon Blackley and Andrew Kirby in a drive-by shooting nearly two years ago in downtown Greenville.

Vidal Thorpe didn’t tell anyone about what he saw that night until two weeks ago.

He was at The Other Place nightclub the night of the shooting and said he saw James Richardson shoot the gun. He said he saw the altercation inside the club and he heard Richardson say ‘I’ll be back’.

Minutes after Thorpe went back inside the club he heard gunshots and ran outside.

“Now you said it was the defendant. Were you able to see the persons face in the white BMW,” asked Assistant District Attorney Kimberly Robb.

“I saw the side,” answered Thorpe.

“Did you recognize that face,” asked Robb. 

“Yes,” he answered.

“And who was it,” she asked.

“The defendant,” said Thorpe.

On cross examination, the defense asked Thorpe why he waited almost two years to tell investigators what he saw. Thorpe says he figured if investigators needed him, they would have contacted him first.

---Previous Story---

GREENVILLE, N.C. - The third day of testimony in a double-murder trial brought the victims’ mothers to tears.

James Richardson faces two counts of first degree murder for the shooting deaths of Landon Blackley and Andrew Kirby outside The Other Place nightclub in Greenville nearly two years ago.

The burden of proof falls on the prosecutors in this capital murder trial. The state is relying heavily on witness testimony to prove James Richardson shot and killed those two men.

In response, the defense is cross-examining witnesses by asking for very specific details. Several times, witnesses have answered that they can’t recall specific details because it happened two years ago.

Tears fell from Andrew Kirby’s mother’s eyes as the sound of frantic 911 calls take her back to the day her son was shot and killed.

Most witnesses did not see the shooter’s face that night, but Kirby’s former roommate Jeff Sealey said he did, “And then I saw Mr. Richardson open the passenger side door. I mean the driver’s side door of a white BMW, pop the trunk, go into the trunk and pull a pistol out, cock it back.”

Most of the witnesses say it started with a threat, including Jeff Sealey, who testified, “I did hear a threat and it was ‘I’m going to come back and kill you,’ and some cuss words.” (Who said that, asked Everett) “Mr. Richardson.”

Witnesses mapped out what they saw; a light-skinned black male wearing a white t-shirt, get in a scuffle outside The Other Place nightclub. He yelled out a threat, ran around the corner, got in a white BMW and drove the opposite way down Reade Street toward the club.

Daniel Mustian was standing outside The Other Place talking with Andrew Kirby just before Kirby was shot. He testified, I could see an arm stretched across from the driver's side seat over the passenger's seat and the gun wasn't protruding outside the car. It was pretty much even with the window. I could see the same thing; light colored skin and a white t-shirt.”

Mustian never positively identified Richardson as the shooter and defense attorney Jeff Cutler reminded the jury that he never saw Richardson’s face.

Defense attorneys objected when Andrew Kirby’s former roommate Jeff Sealey positively identified James Richardson for the jury. Sealey said he recognized Richardson from the color of his eyes.  It was a piece of information he left out of his written statement and interviews.

Judge Duke over-ruled their objection and reminded the defense that sworn testimony in court is also one method of proof.

--- Previous Story ---

GREENVILLE, N.C. - The third day of testimony in a double-murder trial brought the victims’ mothers to tears.

James Richardson faces two counts of first degree murder for the shooting deaths of Landon Blackley and Andrew Kirby outside The Other Place nightclub in Greenville nearly two years ago.

The prosecutors’ job is difficult because this case involves a drive-by shooting. They have to rely heavily on witness testimony.

For the last three days of testimony, witnesses have had to remember back to two years ago to the night of the shooting. 

Witnesses gave live testimony for the jury, read their written statements and the state played their audio recorded interviews conducted just days after the shooting.

Today the state played 911 tapes and voicemails from that night, bringing Landon Blackley and Andrew Kirby’s mothers to tears. 

Carmen Kellum and Rachel Burke gave their testimony this morning. Both of them were outside The Other Place nightclub when the shooting took place.

They described a black male wearing a white shirt getting into a fight outside the club, make verbal threats, and then run to his car.

Burke said she called 911 when she saw the man pop the trunk and grab a handgun, “I seen him go to the trunk, and the trunk was popped and at that time I remember him reaching in with one hand and it looked like he was reaching to his left side.  He got a gun and actually seen him cock it back and get back into the vehicle and go the opposite way and that's when (the gun went off?)."  

On cross examination, Burke told defense lawyers she didn’t realize until after she watched news coverage about the shooting that she picked the wrong man out of the line-up.

Andrew Kirby’s former roommate Jeff Sealey took the stand just an hour ago. 

He’s testifying that he heard James Richardson say “I’m going to kill you” and that he saw him go to the car, pop the trunk, and grab a pistol.

--- Monday's Story ---

GREENVILLE, N.C. - Prosecutors spent the second day of James Richardson’s murder trial building their case against the man they say shot and killed two men outside a Greenville nightclub two years ago.

The jury left the courtroom for nearly an hour and a half Monday afternoon but the trial kept going.

After the state called their fourth witness for the day, Judge Duke excused the jury while the defense motioned to stop that witness, Cario Arrington from testifying.

The defense accused prosecutors of violating disclosure rules about how the witness was able to testify, but Judge Rusty Duke denied the motion.

When the jury returned, Cario Arrington took the stand.

What prosecutors say James Richardson did outside The Other Place nightclub on June 30, 2009 is just as important as how they say he got there.

Cario Arrington testified he rode in a white BMW to The Other Place nightclub and James Richardson was driving. He says Richardson parked on Reade Street around the corner from the club.

His sketch, showing what happened that night, falls in line with the testimony given by three witnesses earlier in the day.

Ronnell Peterson says he let Richardson borrow his white BMW just a few days before the shooting.

Lisa Wrzesinzki and bartender Shannon Tyndall saw Richardson at The Other Place nightclub just minutes before the shooting. 

Tyndall described a scuffle between Richardson and another man that happened inside the club, “Then the guys started shoving and saying, ‘Don’t put your hands on me.  Don’t put your hands on me.’  They got the guys outside and a few minutes later I heard shots fired.”

Arrington saw the scuffle and went outside when security kicked Richardson out.  That’s when a group of about 15 men jumped on Richardson and took him to the ground.

Arrington saw Richardson get up and run around the corner, in the direction of the parked BMW.

A few minutes later, he was standing on the sidewalk with Richardson’s brother Andre when he saw a white car drive down Reade Street and turn the corner toward The Other Place.

"As it went by so quickly, I couldn't like really see directly inside the car," said Arrington. 

Arrington says he only saw one person in the car and moments later, he heard gunshots.

Arrington told the jury that after the shooting, he and Richardson’s brother Andre met up with James Richardson and some other people at a friend’s house in Pitt County. He says that’s when he saw two other men get out of the white BMW.

Arrington says a girl they had been with earlier that night drove him, Richardson and his brother Andre to Raleigh that night in her SUV.  They spent the night at a hotel. 

--- Previous Story ---

GREENVILLE, N.C. - The owner of the car used in a fatal drive-by shooting took the stand today in James Richardson's murder trial.  

Richardson is accused of killing Landon Blackley and Andrew Kirby in that drive-by shooting nearly two years ago in downtown Greenville.

In opening arguments on Friday, James Richardson's defense lawyers did not dispute which car was used in the drive-by shooting or the fact that Richardson borrowed that car.

Today, the state called the owner of the car and Richardson's childhood friend Ronnell Peterson to the stand anyway.

Peterson testified he let Richardson borrow his white BMW just days before the drive-by shooting and the next time he saw his car was in pictures, because the car was being processed as evidence in the double-murder case.

Prosecutor Clark Everett showed the jury pictures with a bullet laying in the back seat, a suitcase in the trunk and a suit hanging inside the car.

Peterson didn't recognize any of these items but said he had seen Richardson with a handgun several times in the past.

The defense spent very little time cross examining Peterson, asking him if he knew where the car was parked at the time the pictures were taken. Peterson said he didn't know. 

The next two witnesses called this morning were at The Other Place nightclub the night of the shooting in June of 2009.

One of them went to J.H. Rose High School with Richardson and was bartending that night.  She saw Richardson get in a scuffle and get thrown out of the club but was inside at the time of the shooting. 

--- Friday's Story ---

GREENVILLE, N.C. - Testimony began Friday in the murder trial of James Richardson.

Prosecutors say Richardson shot two men to death in a drive-by shooting in Downtown Greenville almost two years ago.  They argue Richardson acted out after getting into a fight at a nightclub minutes earlier.

Three people took the stand Friday, including the man who got into a shoving match with Richardson the night of the shooting.  Prosecutors say Richardson went into a rage after that and grabbed a gun.

"I got something for you.  Can you handle some shots?" said District Attorney Clark Everett.

District Attorney Clark Everett used that remark to describe what he calls a threat in opening statements.  A threat he says James Richardson made when he got thrown out of The Other Place nightclub after a fight on the early morning of June 30, 2009.  Everett says Richardson then went to a white BMW he borrowed from a friend in Charlotte, pulled out a gun from the trunk and drove a couple of blocks back to the club.

"Slowed up and five shots were fired from the vehicle," Everett said.

Two of those shots killed Andrew Kirby and Landon Blackley.  The defense doesn't contradict the fight, that Richardson got thrown out of the club, the gun used or the car Richardson borrowed.

"Who got in that vehicle?  Who fired that gun?" asked Defense Attorney Jeff Cutler during opening statements.

Attorney Jeff cutler told the jury no one saw Richardson in the car when the gun went off outside The Other Place.

"People remember James when they see him," Cutler said.

Laura Blackley and Pama Kirby both fought back tears as they testified about their sons to start witness testimony.  The state then called Darin Kennedy, who got into the fight with Richardson. 

"The whole scuffle, it became a huge big deal," Kennedy testified.

Kennedy explained what happened when he left the club a couple of minutes after Richardson.

"I saw sparks like a gunshot, sparks from the gun,” Kennedy testified.  “The orange, the sparks fly out of a gun and I yelled at my friends. 'Get down, get down.'  I sprinted back inside the O.P. as fast as I could."

On cross examination, the defense tried to poke holes in Kennedy's story.  In a written statement he gave to police eight days after the shooting, Kennedy described there were shooters in the car.  He now says he doesn't know how many there were, but only saw one gun.

"It came out of the right side of the car,” Kennedy testified.  “I believe that it was the front seat. It was 2 years ago and it happened extremely fast."

Kennedy also initially testified he saw the car in question drive the wrong way down Reade Circle before driving toward the nightclub.  On cross examination, he admitted he never saw the car on Reade Circle.  Kennedy was on the stand for about an hour and a half.

The court went into recess for the weekend after that.  Testimony picks up again Monday morning at nine. 

--- Previous Story ---

GREENVILLE, N.C. - Prosecutors in the James Richardson murder trial plan to introduce evidence that suggests he used the gun that killed two men in Downtown Greenville before the night of the shooting.

Richardson's defense team led by Jeff Cutler filed a pre-trial motion Friday morning to keep the evidence from being introduced during the trial.  Judge Rusty Duke denied the motion.  Duke deferred ruling on a second pre-trial motion until later.  The court did not specify the subject of that motion.

Duke elaborated on the gun evidence motion before denying the defense's attempt to suppress.  The judge said the prosecution evidence will try to show the defendant used the alleged murder weapon in May of 2009.  That's more than a month before the drive-by shooting in Downtown Greenville that killed Andrew Kirby and Landon Blackley.

Richardson's charged with both of their murders outside The Other Place nightclub.  He could get the death penalty if convicted.

Court is in recess until 11 am when the jury of 10 women and 2 men along with 3 alternate jurors will get directions from Judge Duke.  Opening arguments are expected to begin at 2 pm.

--- Previous Story ---

GREENVILLE, N.C. - A complete jury is now in place to hear the James Richardson double murder trial.  The primary jury and the alternates.

Richardson's accused of the drive-by shooting in downtown Greenville that killed two men almost two years ago.

Today's task was seating the three alternate jurors to hear the evidence.

It seemed like seating them would go quickly considering eight jurors took their place yesterday.

It took all day. 

Almost everyone called today heard something about this case.

Judge Rusty Duke, prosecutors and defense lawyers got through questioning 20 candidates.  The judge directly excused ten of them.

Some told the court they already had a strong opinion about Richardson's guilt or innocence.  Others said they could never impose the death penalty.

Conversely, one said he could only impose the death penalty if there was a murder conviction.

One potential juror was dismissed immediately because she's an assistant district attorney.

Prosecutors discharged four candidates to the defense's three.

All three alternates are men.  Two are white and one’s African American.

They complement the two men and ten women on the primary jury.

James Richardson remained stoic throughout jury selection even during some lighter moments.

Defense Attorney Jeff Cutler says he's glad a jury's in place to begin the trial. However, he asked again for a change of venue at the end of the day. Judge Duke once again denied it.

The jury's been told to be in court tomorrow at eleven for instructions.

Opening arguments could begin after lunch in this death penalty case.

--- Previous Story ---

GREENVILLE, N.C. - All three alternates have now been selected in the James Richardson double murder trial.

The jury is complete.

Nine On Your Side will have a full wrap of today's events tonight at 6 on Eyewitness News 9.

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GREENVILLE, N.C. - There's one alternate juror in place to go along with the 12-person jury already seated in the James Richardson double murder trial. That's the way things stood coming out of the lunch recess in Judge Rusty Duke's courtroom.  Two more alternate jurors need to be selected before the trial can begin.  The court seated the first alternate Thursday morning after questioning from Judge Rusty Duke as well as lawyers from both the prosecution and defense. So far on Thursday, 14 other prospective jurors have been dismissed.  Judge Duke excused eight potential jurors for a variety of reasons. Some were not willing to impose a death sentence under any circumstances, one indicated he would only consider a death sentence upon conviction (ignoring the possibility of life without parole) and others indicated they already formed an opinion about Richardson's innocence or guilt and could not be swayed from that position.  One was excused immediately because she works as an assistant district attorney for Pitt County. The defense excused two potential jurors. The prosecution excused four. Judge Duke opened the afternoon session by instructing the jurors who are already in place to be back in court at 11 am Friday.  Richardson is accused of the drive-by shooting deaths of Andrew Kirby and Landon Blackley outside The Other Place nightclub in Downtown Greenville on June 30, 2009.

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GREENVILLE, N.C. - Two more alternate jurors need to be selected before the double murder trial of James Richardson can begin. The court seated the first alternate Thursday morning after questioning from Judge Rusty Duke as well as lawyers from both the prosecution and defense. Two other prospective jurors were dismissed Thursday morning prior to the first alternate being seated. One was excused by the defense. The other by the prosecution. Richardson is accused of the drive-by shooting deaths of Andrew Kirby and Landon Blackley outside The Other Place nightclub in Downtown Greenville on June 30, 2009.

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GREENVILLE, N.C. - Over the last three days, the court has questioned and dismissed nearly 40 people to get down to the 12 jurors.  Three alternates still need to be selected before opening arguments can begin. So far, two have been excused, so questioning will continue Wednesday.

James Richardson's defense lawyers have always argued he could not get a fair trial in Pitt County. Even now, near the end of jury selection, Richardson's supporters are protesting to move his trial.

"There's going to be a sense of pressure among jurors to vote in favor of the victims regardless of evidence because of public backlash,” said Monty Carlos, Richardson family friend.

The seated jury tells a different story.

Those 12 outlasted questioning from Judge Rusty Duke, the prosecution, and the defense. They're presuming Richardson innocent and they've given their word, regardless of what they heard about the case beforehand, that they'll base their verdict solely on what they see and hear inside the courtroom.

The jury is made up of ten females; seven are white, one is black, one is Hispanic, and one is a Pacific Islander. There are two males; one is black, the other one white.

Throughout the jury selection, Landon Blackley and Andrew Kirby's parents sat on the bench directly behind the prosecution. Before deciding on any jurors, District Attorney Clark Everett walked up to the railing, leaned over and talked to them.

On the opposite side of the room, James Richardson took notes and talked with his attorneys Jeff Cutler and Tommy Moore, making sure the jurors they keep will, in fact, give him a fair trial.

At the beginning of jury selection, the prosecution and defense started out with 17 peremptory challenges each. They use these challenges when they want to excuse jurors without giving a reason why.

The defense only have three left after using a peremptory challenge late this afternoon to dismiss an alternate juror who said she has a son who was in Greenville at the time of the shooting and that he frequented The Other Place nightclub.

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GREENVILLE, N.C.- There is a full, 12-person jury seated to serve in James Richardson's double-murder trial.

Judge Duke has seated the 12th juror- a Pacific Islander female.

The court needs three alternate jurors before moving to opening arguments.

Judge Duke is questioning the first one now inside the Pitt County Superior Courtroom.

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GREENVILLE, N.C. - Jury selection is winding down in James Richardson's double-murder trial.

Superior Court Judge Rusty Duke formally seated eight jurors this morning, but the court needs seven more to begin opening arguments.

It’s day three of jury selection and the court is looking to for four more jurors to fill the box and three alternates.

31 people have been excused since jury selection began Monday; 17 of them were dismissed without cause.

James Richardson is facing two counts of first degree murder.

He's accused of killing both Landon Blackley and Andrew Kirby in a drive-by shooting outside The Other Place nightclub in Greenville.

If the jury finds him guilty, they could recommend the death penalty.

That has been a major deciding for the prosecution and defense attorneys. Together they've dismissed five jurors for saying they either strongly support the death penalty or oppose it and wouldn't be able to recommend it for sentencing.

The prosecution and defense aren't making these decisions to excuse jurors all on their own.

Landon Blackley and Andrew Kirby's parents are sitting on the bench directly behind the prosecution.

Several times yesterday and today, District Attorney Clark Everett has leaned over the railing to talk with them before deciding on certain jurors.

On the opposite side of the room, James Richardson has been taking notes and talking with his attorneys, Jeff Cutler and Tommy Moore, seemingly helping to decide which jurors they'll challenge or keep.

Today, the defense had a long conversation with one juror whose son works at The Other Place nightclub and was employed there two years ago when the shooting happened.

After some serious questioning from the defense and Judge Duke, the court went into a short recess and the defense is deciding now if they'll keep him on to serve in this trial.

When Judge Duke seated those eight jurors first thing this morning, he let them leave for the day and told them to be back in the jury box at two o'clock tomorrow afternoon.

Meanwhile, two more jurors have been seated. The court needs two more jurors to serve in this trial plus three alternates.

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GREENVILLE, N.C.- Superior Court Judge Rusty Duke formally announces eight jurors are seated for James Richardson's capital murder trial.

The eight include seven females: five white, one black and one hispanic; and one black male.

Judge Duke dismissed these jurors from court told them to return at 2pm Thursday afternoon.

There are four potential jurors left seated in the box this morning. Judge Duke, the prosecution, and defense attorneys are continuing questioning.

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GREENVILLE, N.C. - The mood inside the Superior Courtroom changed immediately today when James Richardson's defense attorneys started talking about the death penalty.

It’s a controversial topic that can get anyone talking, but in this capital murder case, it’s a real possibility the 12 jurors won't just talk about the death penalty. If they find Richardson guilty, they could decide to impose the death penalty.

At any given moment, there are 12 potential jurors sitting in the box. But one by one, they're being replaced.

When a fresh juror takes a seat, they answer a series of questions first from Judge Rusty Duke and then the district attorney's assistant Kimberly Robb.

She asks the panel if they've heard about the case and where they heard about it. Do they know anyone in the DA's office or on the defense team?  A few other specifics and it’s passed to the defense.

When attorney Tommy Moore takes the reigns, he begins a heavy and personal discussion with every new juror sitting in the box.

He wants to know their personal beliefs on the death penalty, life imprisonment without parole, and how long they've held those beliefs.

Some jurors say they're staunch supports of capital punishment, others call it severe, and several potential jurors say they haven't thought about it much until now; and the idea of possibly sending someone to death row proves to be too much.

Jury selection began yesterday with a pool of about 200 potential jurors. That is slowly dwindling now.

Tuesday alone, the state let eight of them go and the defense excused 12 more.

So far, most of the potential jurors coming in and out of the box say they knew or heard about the shooting downtown beforehand, but Judge Duke and attorneys always follow that up with the question, have you formed an opinion about it?

As long as the jury can base their verdict on what they see and hear inside the courtroom, they're eligible to serve in this trial.

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GREENVILLE, N.C. - It's day two of the James Richardson murder trial and the court is starting from scratch in trying to find a jury.

Judge Rusty Duke dismissed court yesterday afternoon with 12 potential jurors sitting in the box.  An hour ago, he excused eight of them; two of them for cause because they said there was no way they could serve as impartial jurors in this case.

Defense attorney Tommy Moore began questioning this morning in a very different tone from yesterday. He made it clear from the beginning he would be questioning each juror in-depth about their views on life imprisonment without parole and the death penalty.

Here's why he did that. James Richardson faces two counts of first degree murder in the shooting deaths of Landon Blackley and Andrew Kirby. If convicted, Richardson could face the death penalty or life imprisonment without parole.

Defense attorneys explained to the jury panel that Richardson entered a not guilty plea because he claims just that he did not do it. But, it’s up to the 12 people sitting in that box to decide if he's innocent or guilty and their decision could lead to the death penalty.

Throughout the morning, there was a lot of raw self-reflection from each juror. They were asked to explain their religious experiences and personal beliefs.

But its state law that a possible penalty for first degree murder is death. And this jury must be able to do that if need be.

Two of the prospective jurors simply said they could not.  

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GREENVILLE, N.C. - Jury selection will continue tomorrow in the murder trial of a man accused of killing two people in a drive-by shooting in downtown Greenville.

Prosecutors have charged James Richardson in the shooting that killed Landon Blackley and Andrew Kirby outside "The Other Place" nightclub in June of 2009.

Some unexpected events delayed jury selection earlier today.

The Superior Court chamber was packed today with about 200 potential jurors. Shortly after they were sworn in, Judge Rusty Duke dismissed them from the courtroom and James Richardson's defense attorneys motioned to continue the trial.

His attorneys argued they needed more time to analyze evidence and witnesses, but Judge Duke quickly denied the motion, citing Richardson's recent request for a speedy trial.

In many ways, its an emotional standoff inside Superior Courtroom number one.

Nearly two years after the deadly shooting that happened just a few blocks from the courthouse, James Richardson walked in with his family behind him and attorneys at his side.

Directly across the room, District Attorney Clark Everett prepared to prosecute the man accused of killing ECU student Landon Blackley and restaurant manager Andrew Kirby.

Family members of the victims and the accused looked on as potential jurors were called to the box and questioned one by one.

If convicted, Richardson could face life imprisonment or the death penalty.

The jury panel was asked everything from their occupation to their personal beliefs about the death penalty.

The last time Richardson was in that courtroom, Judge Duke denied his request for change of venue, citing media coverage and widespread publicity of the case was not enough evidence to move the trial outside of Pitt County.

Now, the court is faced with finding 12 jurors who not only meet the traditional qualifications for jury duty, but who also have not formed an opinion about the guilt or innocence of James Richardson.

Another unexpected twist came during the afternoon when Judge Duke took a 15 minute recess after the state's questioning of the jury panel.

Defense attorney Tommy Moore motioned again for a change of venue, citing the majority of jurors on the panel who knew about the case beforehand.

Judge Duke quickly denied that motion as well as it takes more than just knowledge of the case to be excused from the jury.

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GREENVILLE, N.C.- Attorneys for the man accused of killing two people in a drive-by shooting in downtown Greenville are asking the judge to continue his trial.

A pool of about 200 potential jurors packed a Pitt County superior courtroom this morning- awaiting selection in James Richardson's murder trial.

Richardson is accused of killing two people in a drive-by shooting in downtown Greenville in June of 2009.

Prosecutors say Richardson shot and killed ECU student Landon Blackley and well-known restaurant manager Andrew Kirby outside "The Other Place" nightclub. If convicted, Richardson will face the death penalty.

Superior Court Judge Rusty Duke ruled last month that media exposure and widespread publicity of the case was not enough evidence to change the venue of the trial.

A pool of 200 potential jurors were cleared out of the courtroom and Richardson's attorneys motioned to continue the trial. The defense says they need more time to analyze evidence and witnesses.

Richardson requested a speedy trial, but today, he waived that request and asked for a continuation.

Judge Duke quickly denied that motion to continue the trial.

Nine on Your Side will have the latest on jury selection at noon.

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GREENVILLE, N.C. - The murder trial of James Richardson is set to begin today, nearly two years after the deadly shooting in downtown Greenville.

Jury selection is expected to start Monday morning in the case against Richardson. Prosecutors charged Richardson with two counts of murder. He's accused of killing Andrew Kirby and ECU student Landon Blackley outside "The Other Place" nightclub in June of 2009. Richardson's lawyers tried to get a change of venue for the case, but that was denied in January.

Richardson could get the death penalty if convicted. Nine On Your Side will have complete coverage of the trial.

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