Appeal denied for man convicted in murder of fellow inmate at Columbus Correctional Institution
COLUMBUS CO., N.C. (WECT) - A man found guilty of murdering a fellow inmate at Columbus Correctional Institution was recently denied in his appeal attempt.
The North Carolina Court of Appeals determined that David Mark Fields received a fair trial when he was sentenced to life in prison in 2022 for the murder of Scott Whitmeyer.
In his appeal, Fields argued that “the trial court erred in denying his motion to dismiss for insufficient evidence and in instructing the jury on flight.”
According to evidence presented at his trial, video of an altercation between Fields and Whitmeyer only showed the top of their heads.
The video shows Fields walking to the bathroom immediately afterward. He then is seen exiting the bathroom but not wearing the shirt he was previously had on.
An officer later found a bloody shirt and towel rolled up in a bath mat in the bathroom. Fields also appeared to have blood on his shorts. A metal item, described as a “prison-made weapon” was later found in the drain trap in the bathroom.
Fields contended that the State did not have direct evidence that he murdered Whitmeyer and that “the circumstantial evidence introduced was sufficient only to raise a suspicion that he was the perpetrator.”
The appeals court pointed to evidence that Fields repeatedly walked to and from the victim’s bunk for an hour, saying he “exhibited both a motive and opportunity to kill Whitmeyer.”
The court also stated that Fields’ behavior after the fight presented a “chain of circumstantial evidence” sufficient enough to deny his motion to dismiss.
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