Ricky Cagle was sentenced to death by the State of North Carolina for a robbery murder. According to court documents Ricky Cagle and his accomplices decided to rob the victim, Dennis Craig House, and in the process would murder him. Ricky Cagle would be arrested, convicted and sentenced to death
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The evidence presented at trial tended to show the following facts, based substantially on the testimony of Ryan Christopher Jones. In November of 1993, defendant Cagle and his girlfriend, Jamie Kass, were living together at the Cape Fear Motel in Fayetteville, North Carolina. Defendant Scott and Ryan Christopher Jones were magazine salesmen for Sun Circulation and were also staying at the Cape Fear Motel. On the evening of 4 November 1993, Cagle left Kass in the motel room to rest while he went across the street to a nightclub called “The Oz Club,” which was considered to be a gay bar. Subsequently, Kass spoke with Scott and Jones at the motel. They also went to the Oz Club, where defendant Cagle was playing pool with Dennis Craig House, the victim.
After Cagle and House finished playing pool, House drove his truck to the motel; Cagle, Scott, Jones, and Kass walked. Kass testified that while they were walking to the motel, Cagle, Scott, and Jones joked about “rolling a fag,” which she understood to mean taking money from a homosexual. Jones testified that during the walk, Cagle said he knew the combination to House’s safe, he knew that House had about $4,000 and a pound of marijuana, and he suggested that they rob him. Jones testified that he understood from the conversation that they were going to rob House.
The group went to Cagle and Kass’ motel room, where Kass rested on the bed, and the others drank alcohol and talked. Cagle used a tattoo gun to draw a tattoo on Jones. Whenever House stepped out of the room, the joking about “rolling a fag” continued. At approximately 2:00 a.m., Cagle, Scott, Jones, and House decided to leave the motel and drive to House’s home while Kass went to sleep in the motel room. Jones testified that Cagle and House got into House’s truck first while Jones and Scott stayed in the motel room and argued about who was going to take a knife that Kass had there. After Scott took the knife, he and Jones got into the truck, and House drove them all to his trailer.
At House’s trailer, the group drank alcohol and smoked marijuana. According to Jones’ testimony, at one point, Jones and Scott were sitting in the living room while Cagle and House were in the back room. Scott told Jones that the plan was for Jones to stab House while House was performing oral sex on Cagle. Shortly after that conversation, Cagle walked out of the back room carrying a cat by the neck. Jones testified that Cagle slammed the cat’s head against the wall, and the cat’s head split open. Cagle then bashed the cat’s head on the fish tank. Then Cagle sat on the couch, and House entered the room. Next, Cagle followed Jones to the bathroom, gave him a knife, and told him that “he was gonna get [House] to give him oral sex and [Jones] was supposed to stab him.”
According to Jones’ testimony, he waited in the bathroom while Cagle returned to the living room. When Jones subsequently entered the living room, he saw Cagle lying on the couch and House performing oral sex on Cagle. Cagle reached out to grab Jones by the belt, and Jones stabbed House in the back once. Jones pulled the knife out and dropped it on the ground, and Cagle picked it up. House said, “Why are you guys doing this? I’ll give you anything.” House then lunged and grabbed Jones, and Scott began punching House in the head. Jones pulled away from House. Then Cagle stabbed House three or four times in the chest and dropped the knife on the ground. Scott tried to hit House with a bowling ball. While Jones, Scott, and House were wrestling, Cagle hit House with something that looked like either a fireplace poker or a pool cue, according to the testimony. Next, Cagle, Scott, and Jones ran toward the back room, where Cagle said, “Go finish him, go kill him.” Cagle, Scott, and Jones ran out the front door, with Jones picking up the knife as he ran through the living room. The only item they took from House’s home was a camera that Cagle picked up.
House ran to the home of his neighbor, Roger Ayscue, and knocked on the door. When Ayscue let him in, House collapsed and said, “Roger, they are trying to kill me.” Ayscue looked out his window and saw Cagle and Scott leaving House’s trailer. House ultimately died from stab wounds in the chest.
While fleeing, Cagle, Jones, and Scott discussed an alibi. They decided to tell police that they got in a fight at a keg party and that House left with another man. Shortly after leaving the murder scene, they reached a house and knocked on the door. Elizabeth Hales answered the door, and Cagle asked to use her phone to call a cab because their car had broken down. Hales refused, but told them she would call a cab for them. Hales called a cab company and the police. Cagle, Jones, and Scott then began walking down the road. A deputy sheriff responding to Hales’ call spotted them and asked them what had happened. Cagle said they had been to a keg party, and their car had broken down. Cagle said the blood on his pants was from a fight at the keg party. The deputy sheriff then arrested Cagle, Jones, and Scott.