A woman was sentenced Monday in Wilkes Superior Court for being an accessory to the April 10, 2013, killing of her handicapped next-door neighbor on Byrd Ridge Road.
April Dawn Pack, 33, pleaded guilty last fall to being an accessory after the fact to first-degree murder in the death of Richard Baxter Davenport Jr., whose throat was slashed with a knife.
Pack was sentenced by Judge Michael D. Duncan, Wilkes County’s resident Superior Court judge, to not less than five years and six months nor more than seven years and eight months in prison.
Pack was given credit for time spent in the Wilkes County Jail awaiting trial, so she will have to serve about 10 more months in prison before her release. She has been in custody since shortly after the murder.
In a plea agreement with the state, first-degree murder, first-degree burglary and armed robbery charges against her were dismissed and she was allowed to plead guilty to being an accessory after the fact to murder.
Her husband, Coy Edward “Eddie” Pack, 51, pleaded guilty to voluntary manslaughter on Jan. 24, ending his trial for first-degree murder in Davenport’s death. As part of a plea agreement, first-degree burglary and armed robbery charges were dismissed.
April Pack, as part of her agreed, said she would testify truthfully against her husband at trial. Eddie Pack pleaded guilty to voluntary manslaughter just before his wife was going to be called to the witness stand.
Eddie Pack’s was an Alford plea, meaning that he was not admitting guilt, but was pleading guilty because it was in his best interest to do so.
Eddie Pack was sentenced to not less than three years and six months nor more than five years and four months in prison. He was given credit for two years spent in jail awaiting trial.
The state was represented at trial by assistant district attorneys Lee Bollinger and Matthew Leach. Bollinger represented the state during April Pack’s sentencing hearing Monday.
Davenport was found dead in his home with his throat cut on April 10, 2013, according to trial testimony. Evidence in the case was that his throat was cut with a steak knife that had a serrated blade. A knife with a serrated blade was found lying in the open palm of Davenport’s right hand, but his blood wasn’t on it, according to testimony.
Testimony in the case this week was that Davenport was disabled, having had his right leg amputated. He’d also had a stroke which left him with little use of his right arm. Witnesses testified that he was wheelchair-bound and other people had to tend to his needs.
In his opening statement to the jury in January, Leach said this was a case of a jealous husband murdering and robbing his next-door neighbor.
April Pack had been regularly going across the street to Davenport’s home to help him, the prosecutor said. He said this angered Eddie Pack and the couple began to argue.
On the day of the murder, during an argument with his wife, Pack said, “You know what? You’re going to get (Davenport) killed,” Leach said.
On the night of his death, Davenport spoke on the phone with his sister and she noticed he sounded nervous, Leach said. Davenport told his sister, “April’s old man (Eddie Pack) is outside and he’s going to kill me.”
When his body was discovered later by April Pack, Davenport’s throat was cut “from side to side,” Leach told the jury. Davenport “was defenseless” because of his physical condition, the prosecutor said.
In addition, Davenport’s prescription for pills containing oxycodone, a strong narcotic painkiller, were stolen, along with a television and his credit cards.
At the time of the killing, April Pack was working on her shift at the Tyson Foods plant in Wilkesboro. Eddie Pack called her from Davenport’s phone, acting like he was Davenport, and told her not to come over to his house, Leach said. He noted that she realized it was her husband who was calling.
Attorney Joe Harbinson of Taylorsville, representing Eddie Pack with attorney Drew Willardson of Wilkesboro, told the jury in his opening statement that April Pack was a “pill head” who couldn’t be trusted. He said her only reason for associating with Davenport was he provided her with prescription pain pills.
Davenport distributed drugs in his neighborhood in exchange for money or sexual favors, Harbinson claimed.
During Eddie Pack’s sentencing hearing, Bollinger said April Pack, on two occasions, told female inmates at the Wilkes County Jail that she was performing a sexual act on Davenport in exchange for drugs when her husband walked in.
It was then that Eddie Pack murdered Davenport, the prosecutor said.
It was also noted that April Pack initially told Det. Janet Gryder of the Wilkes Sheriff’s Department that a man named Jamie Barnes had murdered Davenport. She changed her story and implicated Eddie Pack after Gryder discovered Barnes was in jail at the time of the killing and couldn’t have done it.