A man and woman will each serve more than a decade in prison after their trial for the death of Roy Davis near Conway in 2016. On Monday a jury decided James Rosenbaum, 55, was guilty of voluntary manslaughter in the case. Co-defendant Diane Durkin, 51, decided to plead guilty to voluntary manslaughter before closing arguments Monday.
In a plea negotiated with the solicitor’s office, Durkin agreed to plead guilty to the charge for a 15 year sentence with credit for time served. Her plea came under N.C. v. Alford – an “Alford plea” – which means she did not actually admit guilt but acknowledged there was enough evidence to convict her.
Rosenbaum, who left his fate in the hands of the jury, was convicted of the same charge, and Judge Benjamin Culbertson sentenced him to 15 years as well. Rosenbaum also received credit for time served since he was arrested.
The couple was charged on July 12, 2016, a day after Davis, 56, was found beaten to death inside the couple’s home. Testimony revealed the couple had previously lived in the northeast. Rosenbaum was from Connecticut. Durkin was from New York. They lived northwest of Conway on Secondary Highway 548.
“We believe she worked in conjunction with James Rosenbaum to kill Roy Davis with malice and forethought,” 15th Circuit Solicitor Jimmy Richardson. “She lured Roy Davis to their home and used a baseball bat to beat him to death under the guise of a home invasion, rape incident.”
The defendants claimed that Davis was trying to rape Durkin when Rosenbaum arrived at the house and heard commotion inside. They claimed Rosenbaum then went inside the home and began beating Davis. Davis fought back and a struggle followed.
A 911 call that Durkin made lasted several minutes. During the call apparent sounds of the beating continued, along with screaming and Davis repeating “I can’t move,” at one point.
During testimony, Paulette Sutton, an expert witness in blood stain pattern analysis, said some of Davis’s blood-producing wounds had time to clot before he was beaten more. She said clotting would have taken a minimum of six minutes – indicating that the beating lasted longer than that.
“This man was beaten until he couldn’t be beaten any more,” commented Assistant Solicitor Chris Helms in court.
The couple was originally charged with murder because Solicitor Richardson believed the couple planned the attack ahead of time because Durkin had been having an affair with Davis. The voluntary manslaughter charge indicates the couple did not plan the attack but that they did intend to kill Davis. The jury could have also chosen to convict Rosenbaum of involuntary manslaughter which would have indicated that he neither planned the attack nor intended to kill Davis.