The Transylvania Times -

State Supreme Court Hears Oral Arguments In Dalton Case-Brevard NC


October 17, 2016

Last Tuesday, the North Carolina Supreme Court heard oral arguments in the 2014 Transylvania County homicide trial of State v. Amber Dalton, according to the office of District Attorney Greg Newman.

Dalton was convicted in April 2014 by a Transylvania County jury for the 2009 stabbing death of Richard Holden in his Brevard apartment. Dalton also stabbed Holden's wife, Naomi Barker, who survived the assault, according to a press release from Newman's office.

Dalton was sentenced to life in prison without parole on the murder conviction. She was also sentenced to an additional 26 to 41 months in prison for the assault with a deadly weapon inflicting serious injury. Superior Court Judge Marvin Pope of Buncombe County presided over the trial. Dalton was represented by Brevard attorney Tony Dalton (no relation to the defendant). Newman and Assistant District Attorney Doug Mundy prosecuted the case for the state.

Dalton's attorney presented an insanity defense at her trial and called at least two expert witnesses on her behalf, the release said. During the closing arguments to the jury, Newman commented on the possibility of Dalton's release back into the community should they find her not guilty by insanity. Typically, someone found not guilty by reason of insanity will be hospitalized and evaluated on a regular basis to determine whether a defendant is "well" enough to function back in the community without the need for further hospital treatment or oversight, the release said.

"My comments at the trial were accurate with respect to both the law and facts of the case," said Newman.

The Court of Appeals disagreed, however, and in an opinion issued in September 2015, ordered a new trial for Dalton, saying, among other things, that the District Attorney's comments were too prejudicial.

"I intended for my comments to be prejudicial because I am an advocate for the people in my judicial district," said Newman. "The Court of Appeals did not like the verdict and simply substituted their own intended outcome in the case. They seemed very sympathetic to her (Dalton's) insanity defense, but the jury was buying none of it. I am hopeful the Supreme Court will reinstate the original sentence.

"It is significant that the Supreme Court agreed to hear this case. They could have chosen not to consider the matter at all. The questions last Tuesday from at least four of the seven justices appeared to be favorable to our position, but I am no mind reader. We will wait and hope for the best. If the Court of Appeals decision is affirmed, my office will prepare to try Ms. Dalton again. I am confident we will achieve the same result of a life sentence."

The District Attorney's office will announce the Supreme Court's decision when it is published.


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