James Davis was sentenced to death by the State of North Carolina for the murders of three people during a workplace shooting. According to court documents James Davis was fired from his job and would return the next day with an automatic rifle and would fire over fifty shots killing three people including the two bosses who had fired him the day before. James Davis would be arrested, convicted and sentenced to death
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At trial, the State’s evidence tended to show the following: Defendant James Floyd Davis had been employed in the warehouse of Union Butterfield since 1991. On 10 May 1995, an altercation occurred between defendant and two other employees. The management of Union Butterfield, including Herb Welsh, Larry Cogdill, Tony Balogh, and Debbie Medford, conducted a fact-finding meeting concerning the altercation. Defendant was suspended with pay until the following Monday, 15 May 1995. Subsequently, management made a decision to terminate defendant’s employment.
On 15 May 1995, defendant met with Tony Balogh and Debbie Medford. During the meeting, Balogh informed defendant that his employment was being terminated. Medford informed defendant of the benefits he was entitled to receive upon his termination. Defendant appeared nervous and tearful during the meeting. Balogh and Medford asked defendant if there was anything they could do for him. Defendant responded by saying, “If you were going to help me, you would have.”
On 17 May 1995, at approximately 9:00 a.m., defendant purchased from Pawn World a Winchester .30-caliber M1 carbine rifle, two clips, and ammunition. At approximately 11:20 a.m., defendant entered the facility of his former employer, Union Butterfield, carrying the Winchester rifle and a Lorcin .380-caliber semiautomatic pistol. Defendant proceeded to the break room, where he found Robert Walker, Tim Walker, Howard Reece, Gerald Allman, and Tony Balogh. The men were in the middle of a meeting about the building’s sprinkler system. Defendant entered the break room and told Robert Walker and Tim Walker, representatives from the sprinkler company, to “get the hell out of here.” Defendant aimed the gun at Allman and fired, shooting him in the head. Defendant then turned to Balogh and fired the gun. Reece ran from the room and felt pieces of the wall hitting him as defendant attempted to shoot him.
Defendant then proceeded down the hallway where the plant management offices were located. He began to fire shots into each office as he walked down the hallway. Larry Cogdill was in an office that he shared with Gerald Allman and Herb Welsh. Cogdill looked out and saw defendant coming down the hallway and slammed the office door shut. Defendant turned the door handle and opened the door slightly until Cogdill slammed his body against the door to keep defendant out. Defendant then shot through the door, with one bullet striking Cogdill in the arm. Cogdill fell to the side and watched as defendant shot holes in the door. At some point, Cogdill was also shot in the leg.
Defendant continued to move down the hallway, shooting into management offices and reloading his gun at least once. Frank Knox, an employee of Dormer Tools, parent company to Union Butterfield, was working in one of the offices. When Knox heard shots being fired, he hid under his desk. Defendant fired three shots through Knox’s door, and two of the shots struck Knox in the wrist and chest.
Defendant returned to the office where Cogdill and Welsh were located and fired several more shots through the door. Defendant then entered the warehouse area of the plant. Larry Short then saw defendant standing in a doorway and smoking a cigarette. Short attempted to flag down cars for assistance. When defendant and Short made eye contact, defendant raised his gun and began firing at Short. Short ducked, ran, and then dove and rolled out of defendant’s sight. Soon after, defendant surrendered to the Asheville police.
While in police custody, defendant stated, “I got fired. Damn it. I got set up. They drove me crazy out there.” Furthermore, when the arrest warrants for the murders were served upon defendant, he pointed to one of the victims’ names on the warrant and stated, “That’s the son of a bitch that fired me.” While looking at another warrant, defendant stated, “That’s a troublemaker. He’s made my life hell since I’ve worked there.” Finally, while looking at the warrant for the murder of Frank Knox, defendant stated that he did not remember him.