[Deathpenalty]death penalty news----NORTH CAROLINA
rhalperi at mail.smu.edu
Mon Nov 28 23:08:57 CST 2005
NCADP: National Coalition to Abolish the Death Penalty
Do Not Execute Kenneth Lee Boyd!
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Kenneth Lee Boyd
December 2, 2005
Kenneth Lee Boyd, a white man, faces execution in North Carolina for the
shooting deaths of his wife, Julie Curry Boyd, and her father, Thomas
Dillard Curry, on March 4, 1988 in Rockingham County.
Boyd dropped out of school in the ninth grade. He later volunteered to
serve in the army and went to Vietnam. He suffers from a history of alcohol
abuse. His first marriage ended in divorce and his marriage to Julie Boyd
involved a history of arguments, separations, and reconciliations. At the
time of the murders the two were separated. Boyd also suffered from an
intestinal illness that had resulted in the removal of both his stomach and
his gall bladder on two separate occasions.
At Boyd's trial, expert witnesses testified as to Boyd's psychiatric state
of mind. Dr. Patricio Lara testified that Boyd suffered from adjustment
disorder with psychotic emotional features, alcohol abuse, and personality
disorder with predominate compulsive dependant features. Dr. John Warren
testified that Boyd suffered from chronic depression, alcohol abuse
disorder, dependant personality disorder, and a reading disability. Dr.
Warren also stated that Boyd did not act with a "cool state of mind" at the
time of the murders. After an explanation by the court of the legal meaning
of a "cool state of mind," Warren conceded that the medical and legal uses
of the terms differed. However Warren stated that Boyd did not act with a
"cool state of mind" in the medical sense. Although the witness clarified
his testimony, that part of his testimony was ruled inadmissible.
Additionally, Boyd's trial judge allowed a conversation on mitigating
circumstances between the attorneys and the judge to take place outside of
Boyd's presence. According to the law the defendant has a right which can
not be waived to be present at all parts of his capital trial. In this
instance the appellate court ruled that Boyd's absence was "harmless"
because his lawyer was present.
Unfortunately there is also question as to whether Boyd received effective
assistance of counsel. During closing arguments, trial counsel responded to
the prosecutor's closing argument that the jury should look at the ten
minutes of the crime and return a death sentence. The defendant's counsel
responded by arguing that the jury "take the ten minutes to find the
aggravating circumstance." He continued by telling the jury to rule on all
of the information in the case, not just that ten minutes.
Unfortunately such a statement by the trial counsel both concedes that such
an aggravating circumstance exists and concedes the guilt of the defendant.
The statement concedes guilt because the aggravating circumstance in this
case was whether each murder was committed during the commission of another
murder. The appellate court ruled that this did not warrant a mistrial
because the defendant did not voice his problem with his trial counsel's
statements before the appeal. Of course, a defendant is not likely to
object before appeal to the statement of his own counsel.
Boyd has a number of mental and emotional problems. He suffers from an
addiction to alcohol and was intoxicated at the time of the crimes. He has
been cooperative with authorities and has no prior criminal record.
Please write Gov. Michael Easely requesting that Boyd's sentence be commuted
to life in prison.
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