Skip Ribbon Commands
Skip to main content

Christopher Spicer

On April 5, 1973, 27-year-old Donald P. Christian was killed during the robbery of over $4,000 from his poultry products business, Christian Brothers Poulty, in New Hanover County, North Carolina.
 
One of Christian’s employees, Bertie Brailford, told police that he had ordered the hit on the poultry business, which had been carried out by others, including 24-year-old Christopher Spicer. Spicer was arrested and charged with Christian’s murder, as was 32-year-old Isaac Sherrill Monk.
 
Spicer’s trial was before Superior Court Judge Walter Cohoon in September 1973. A primary witness for the prosecution was Charles E. Pennington, an alleged cellmate of Spicer’s – though other witnesses disputed that Spicer and Pennington had ever been cellmates. Pennington testified that Spicer had confessed his guilt to him while they were incarcerated together. Spicer’s attorney attempted to question Pennington regarding whether he was being paid or otherwise compensated for his testimony against Spicer, but Judge Cohoon refused to allow such questioning of Pennington by the defense. Spicer was convicted of murder and sentenced to death for this crime.
 
In May 1974, the North Carolina Supreme Court order a new trial for Spicer based on the unanimous opinion that Judge Cohoon had erred in refusing to allow the defense to question Pennington’s motives for providing the incriminating testimony against Spicer. Isaac Sherrill Monk, who had also been convicted of Spicer’s murder, was granted a new trial as well.
 
Spicer’s retrial took place in February 1975 in New Hanover Superior Court. He was acquitted after the jury deliberated for just fifteen minutes.
 
– Meghan Barrett Cousino
State:NC
County:New Hanover
Most Serious Crime:Murder
Reported Crime Date:1973
Convicted:1973
Exonerated:1975
Sentence:Death
Race:Don't Know
Sex:Male
Age at the date of crime:24
Contributing Factors:Perjury or False Accusation