Inmate Convicted Of Triple Murder Dies

A man who has been on death row for 22 years, convicted in 1995 for shooting six people – three fatally – has died in prison of natural causes.

Davy Stephens died at Central Prison on Wednesday. He was 62.

Stephens was convicted by a Johnston County Jury and sentenced to die for the murders of Lynn Wright, Antwon Jenkins and Michael Kent Jones and wounding three others, James White, Kenneth Farmer and June Bates. Stephens also received an additional sentence of assault with a deadly weapon with intent to kill.

Around 2:00am on January 21, 1995, Davy Stephens and an accomplice, William Barrow, drove to a home on Grill Road in the Cleveland community. They went into the bedroom of Lynn Wright, a reputed drug dealer, and shot him six times, killing him instantly.

Stephens and Barrow then went in separate directions in the home.  Barrow walked onto the porch and fatally shot Antwon Jenkins in the head. Barrow then tried to kill James White but the bullet only grazed his head.  He then tried to shoot 83 year-old Kenneth Farmer but the bullet struck him in the arm as he threw his hand up.

Next, they tried to shoot John Wright but they ran out of bullets.  Stephens and Barrow left and returned a short time later with more bullets, killing Michael Kent Jones. Barrow also seriously wounded June Bates in the back and arm. Bates was able to escape and call for help from a nearby house.

Wright was found dead on the floor surrounded by blood and cocaine. Farmer, who was found wounded behind the house, was later able to identify Stephens as one of the shooters and also picked him out of a lineup.  Stephens was eventually found by Johnston County deputies hiding in the attic of a home also occupied by his girlfriend.

During the trial in the Fall of 1995, prosecutors offered evidence all three victims died from gunshot wounds.  Defense attorneys later tried to appeal the guilty verdicts against Stephens saying the jury had been misinformed but the appeal was denied.