Andre Fletcher was sentenced to death by the State of North Carolina for the robbery and murder of an 83 year old woman. According to court documents Andre Fletcher would break into the home of Georgia Ann Dayberry Hamrick and the elderly woman would be beaten and stabbed to death. Andre Fletcher would rob the home before fleeing. Andre Fletcher was arrested, convicted and sentenced to death
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On 17 August 1994 Georgia Ann Dayberry Hamrick (“victim”), eighty-three, was battered and knifed to death in her home in Spindale, Rutherford County, North Carolina. The State’s evidence tended to show that defendant broke into the victim’s home, beat her to find out where her valuables were, and then cut her throat. He took several rings, two of which he sold over the next couple of days for $250.00 and $60.00.
In the early morning hours of Wednesday, 17 August, during a summer rainstorm, defendant pulled out the top corner of the front storm door of the victim’s house, breaking the pane of glass, and kicked in the wooden door to get inside. Defendant awakened the victim and, taking her into the various rooms of her house, battered her over the head to force her to give him money and jewelry. Blood drops stained the dining room table and floor, and blood spatter stained the dining room curtains and walls. The kitchen cabinets and walls also bore blood spatter, and a large amount of blood was pooled on the kitchen floor and table. The victim attempted to defend herself against the blows but was overpowered. Defendant then cut the victim’s throat with a kitchen knife, exposing and lacerating the jugular vein, and left the house. The victim, still alive, was able to move down the hall to her bedroom, where she collapsed in a chair and died.
Searches of defendant’s house, located about two hundred yards from the victim’s house, produced from defendant’s closet a pair of wet Fila tennis shoes whose soles were consistent with shoe prints, in both dust and blood, found in the victim’s house and on her front door. A pawn ticket for $60.00, dated Thursday, 18 August, was found in the purse of defendant’s girlfriend, Lisa Hill. The ticket was for a diamond and sapphire ring that the victim’s family members testified had belonged to the victim. A second of the victim’s rings was found behind the television in defendant’s house. A search of defendant’s car produced a small silver sewing kit that had belonged to the victim.
Upon interrogation, defendant revealed that in the early morning hours of 17 August, he remembered waking up in his house and sitting and looking at ten or twelve rings, not knowing where they came from. He also said that, at that time, he could see in his mind a white woman with a knife, as if he were having some type of vision. He told the police that he was scared because he did not know where the rings came from. He also told the police that on 18 August he and Hill sold one of the rings to a jewelry store and pawned another at a pawn shop. The police recovered these two rings, and the victim’s family members testified that they had belonged to the victim. As for the rest of the rings, defendant said he put some of them in a trash can in a convenience store restroom and some more in a gutter behind a shop in town. The police recovered six rings from the restroom and three more from the gutter where defendant had indicated. Police confirmed that all the rings belonged to the victim.
Defendant presented evidence that despite his possession of the victim’s rings there was not enough evidence linking defendant to the burglary and murder; he also presented evidence that the crimes were committed by a person who was seen around the time of the crimes by various eyewitnesses and whom the police never found. Defendant’s clothes and shoes, seized from his home, did not produce any evidence of microscopic glass fragments expected to be left from the breaking of the glass in the front storm door, nor did the clothes or shoes test positive for human blood. None of the fingerprints and palm prints found in the victim’s home matched defendant’s. The Fila shoe prints found in the victim’s home, while not inconsistent with a pair of Filas owned by defendant, did not reveal any of the characteristic nicks and cuts present on defendant’s shoes.
A witness who lived in the victim’s neighborhood testified that during the storm on the night of the murder she saw a man in a yellow raincoat walk by her house in the direction of the victim’s house and that a short time later she heard some loud “pops” coming from that direction. She testified that the man’s appearance was not consistent with that of defendant. Another witness testified that she saw a man in the neighborhood who was wearing a yellow raincoat, acting very suspiciously and driving a white Grand Am. She also testified that the man’s face and general appearance were inconsistent with defendant’s appearance.
In short, defendant’s argument at trial was that no conclusive blood, hair, fiber, or glass evidence was found on defendant’s clothes, in his car, or in his house; and no evidence was presented by the State regarding the identity of the man in the yellow raincoat.