David Godwin sentenced to death: “Justice has been served”

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David Godwin, convicted in the murder of Wendy Tamagne, was sentenced to death on Tuesday in the Carteret County Superior Court.

District Attorney Scott Thomas announced the death penalty sentence of Godwin, 28, of Newport, following a four-week trial.

On April 12, a jury found Godwin guilty of first-degree murder by premeditation and deliberation, by lying in wait, and by way of felony murder during the commission of an armed robbery, common law robbery, and felony dismembering of human remains in the July 4, 2016 death of Tamagne, 38, of Morehead City.

On Tuesday, the same jury issued a recommendation that Godwin be sentenced to death, which presiding Resident Superior Court Judge Joshua W. Willey, Jr. then imposed.

District Attorney Thomas also extended his condolences again to the Tamagne family and added his thoughts: “We committed to the family of Wendy that we would seek justice in her murder. In this case, we decided to seek the death penalty due to the aggravating factors present. Every murder is cruel by its very nature, but the death, in this case, was especially heinous, atrocious, and cruel. Our prayers continue to be with Wendy’s family and friends as they move forward after this first-degree murder conviction and sentence.”

The trial began on March 25, 2019, with a week-long jury selection process to seat the 12 jurors and three alternate jurors who heard the evidence in the case.

On April 1, the State called 21 witnesses over the course of more than four days to present evidence in the case which showed that on the evening of July 5, 2016, Tamagne’s mother went to her daughter’s apartment off Bridges Street in Morehead City after sending numerous text messages to which her daughter never responded.

After knocking on the door of the apartment and not receiving a response, she called the police to report her missing.

When Morehead City Police Officers Kenny Mannon and Lori Pittman responded, they were let into the apartment by a maintenance worker where they found a bloody knife on the coffee table in the living room and Tamagne’s cat dead inside of a trash can in the kitchen downstairs and sheets covered in blood inside the upstairs master bedroom.

Morehead City Police Detectives Lyle Evans and Nat Festerman responded and Detective Evans located Tamagne’s body, which had been cut into pieces and concealed inside of trash bags inside an extra bedroom that was being used for storage.

An investigation by the North Carolina State Bureau of Investigation revealed that Godwin was the last person known to have been with Tamagne when the two of them left a bar together on July 3, 2016, after 11:00 p.m. and went back to Tamagne’s apartment.

Phone records showed the last activity from Tamagne’s phone occurred at 3:47 a.m. before the phone was disabled sometime prior to 8:38 a.m. on July 4, 2016.

SBI Agents Ransom Jones and Dean Saunders testified that a hacksaw found in the apartment was traced back to Lowe’s Home Improvement in Morehead City, where Godwin was seen making the purchase on surveillance video at 10:55 a.m.

Further investigation revealed that Godwin drove Tamagne’s pickup truck back to her apartment after purchasing the hacksaw and left again to purchase the trash bags used to conceal the body from CVS Pharmacy in Morehead City at approximately 12:17 p.m.

Godwin left Tamagne’s apartment for the final time in the early afternoon of July 4, making brief stops at his home in Newport and at a grocery store before driving Tamagne’s truck to Clayton before setting off on foot to a bus station in Raleigh where he used a false name to purchase one-way ticket to Warrenton, Oregon.

Investigators found Tamagne’s truck in the parking lot of a gas station in Clayton with its door unlocked, a window rolled down, and the keys on top of the driver’s seat.

The receipt for the hacksaw purchased from Lowe’s was located in the cupholder.

On July 9, 2016, Godwin turned himself in to the Warrenton Police Department in Oregon.

SBI ASAC Patrick Raynor, SA Jones, and Detective Festerman traveled to Oregon to return Godwin to North Carolina.

An autopsy of Tamagne’s body revealed the cause of death to be asphyxiation, a stab wound near the left ear, and a cutting wound across the trachea.

There were no defensive wounds on her body.

The jury deliberated for approximately 80 minutes and returned its guilty verdicts.

The sentencing phase of the trial began on April 16.

The State alleged that the aggravating factors necessary for a finding of the death penalty were that:

  • The murder was committed while the defendant was engaged in the commission of an armed robbery
  • The murder was committed while the defendant was engaged in the commission of dismemberment of human remains
  • The murder was committed for pecuniary gain
  • The murder was especially heinous, atrocious, or cruel.

The defense presented evidence in mitigation of the sentence, all of which the jury considered.

DAY 13: 

Monday morning closing arguments began by the defense and prosecution in the capital murder trial of David Godwin. He was found guilty of first degree murder in the killing of Wendy Tamagne.

The prosecution quickly began stating this is the most horrific crime in Carteret County and justice must be served for this family. The victim’s lawyer said the motive for this crime was because of sexual aggression after Tamagne rejected Godwin. 

The defendant’s public defenders however stated Godwin and Tamagne’s relationship was platonic, describing Tamagne as a mother to the defendant. Buddy Connor, Godwin’s lawyer said his neglected childhood and failed rehabilitation was the reason for his actions. He pleaded jurors to spare Godwin’s life because “we don’t kill the mentally ill.” 

Jurors returned to court Tuesday morning to begin the deliberation process. 

DAY 12:

The defense and the prosecution in the capital murder trial of David Godwin rested their case Thursday afternoon. 

His public defenders called several more witnesses to the stand on day three of the sentencing phase to keep their client off death row. The prosecution stated they had no rebuttal. 

The last person to testify was Linda Godwin. Jurors reviewed childhood photos of the defendant as Linda looked back at the moments. The adoptive mother took this time to show jurors her son “wasn’t always bad”; just lost and trying to find his way in life. 

Linda’s dad and Godwin’s grandfather, Curtis Litchfield, told jurors his grandson deserved a second chance at life.

The Havelock resident described his grandson as someone who “stood off by himself.” Litchfield mentioned he is still in disbelief about the situation, but believes the defendant will make a successful life in prison. 

Godwin’s high school teacher Deborah Belknap from West Carteret High School testified in his defense. As a student, Godwin participated in two school plays and was a member of the Thespian Society. 

Belknap recalled Godwin’s attitude on his good and bad days. Godwin offered a lot of insight as a drama student, however, he appeared depressed and lost. 

When she heard of the conviction and murder, she was in shock because “this is not the David I knew or remembered,” she said as she held back tears. She agreed Godwin has more to offer in life and “there’s something he’s meant to do.” 

Family friend, Audrey Rodriguez also vouched for the defendant’s second chance in life. Rodriguez and Linda have been friends since the ’90s. Their sons would often play together.  

Rodriguez described Godwin as a “mad kid” and frustrated. However, she too was in dismay about the situation. She assured members of the jury “David’s not a mean person, he has a caring heart” and can make a positive change in prison.

Closing arguments will begin on Monday before the jury begins to deliberate. Jurors will have Good Friday off and resume court Monday morning. 

If all twelve jurors fail to agree Godwin should receive the death penalty, he will automatically be sentenced to life in prison. 

DAY 11:

The capital murder trial of David Godwin resumed Wednesday morning after a power outage Tuesday. 

Around 11 a.m. a vehicle rammed into the building’s power transformer causing for the lights to go out and an ending to Godwin’s court session.

The accident is under the investigation of the Beaufort Police Department. 

The 28-year-old stated Tuesday he would not be testifying during the sentencing phase.

His future lies in the hands of the same jurors that convicted him in the killing of Wendy Tamagne. Jurors will have to decide between the death penalty or life in prison without parole.

The defense continued to plead their case with their second witness, Joel Maude, Godwin’s second-grade teacher. 

Godwin was a student in Maude’s class for the 1998 to 1999 school year. Godwin’s adoptive mother, Linda held back tears during his testimony.

Maude testified as a student he was compliant, but constantly asked questions and “always wanted to know why.” 

Maryann Haskel, a family friend remembers when Godwin would pay a visit to their home. She recalled Godwin playing rough with her kids and was “very irritable”. 

Godwin’s ex-girlfriend, Bernadette Obra, took the stand before lunch. The two attended the same high school and started dating in college for about two years.

Obra described Godwin as ambitious, creative and charismatic, but would isolate himself from others. Godwin had proposed to Obra but failed to personally ask her father for permission, ending the relationship.

She revealed Godwin was married while he served in the army and is a father to one child.

A psychiatrist took the stand after lunch. She was asked to evaluate Godwin. After reviewing medical and psychiatric records and working about 60 hours on this case, she found Godwin came close to having “diminished capacity,” but didn’t feel the need to write it in her report.

She stated the defendant’s IQ could’ve allowed for a brighter future, but failed. 

According to an official, the last execution in the state of North Carolina was in 2006.

In 1992, a Craven County murder case that transferred to Carteret County received the death penalty; the person is currently on death row. 

The defense plans to call more witnesses to the stand Wednesday afternoon and continue Thursday.

Court will be in recess on Friday for the holiday weekend.  

DAY 10:

A capital murder trial was cut short Tuesday morning after a vehicle crashed into the Carteret County Courthouse’s transformer. 

David Godwin returned to court Tuesday morning after he was found guilty of first-degree murder for his sentencing hearing. 

The 28-year-old is facing the possibility of life in prison without parole or the death penalty.

His future is in the hands of the same jurors who convicted him in the killing and dismembering of Wendy Tamagne. 

Her body was found cut into 11 pieces inside trash bags at her Country Club Apartments in July 2016.

Godwin pleaded not guilty at the start of the trial and again Tuesday morning before the sentencing hearing.

His attorneys stated 15 witnesses would be called to the stand.

The prosecution, however, said no additional evidence will be presented on their part.

The first of 15 witnesses was James Aiken, a consulting expert in the correctional field.

Aiken was asked to testify after reviewing several reports of Godwin’s stay in jail.

Aiken states that while Godwin has had some altercations while being incarcerated, he “doesn’t present an unusual risk for staff and inmates.” 

Jurors were excused for an early lunch after the power went out in court.

A vehicle crashed into the courthouses transformer. 

No details have been released on the accident.

The Carteret County Courthouse and the local sheriff’s office are closed until further notice. 

“At approximately 11:15 am this morning a vehicle struck the main transformer that supplies power to the County Courthouse and Administration building,” said Tommy Burns, County Manager. Power has been out while crews work to repair the transformer. The Sheriff’s Office and jail were not affected. The accident is still under investigation by the Beaufort Police Department. It is anticipated that power will be restored tonight and the County will resume normal operations at these facilities at 8 am tomorrow morning.” 
 

DAY NINE: 

David Godwin has been found guilty of first-degree murder in the killing of Wendy Tamagne in July 2016. 

Friday afternoon jurors deliberated for almost two hours after two weeks of testimonies and evidence presented. 

Jurors will return to the courthouse Tuesday morning for the sentencing phase. They will decide between the death penalty or life in prison without parole for Godwin.

Tamagne’s body was found dismembered inside trash bags at her Country Club Apartments. 

Autopsy reports show Tamagne died of strangulation. Prosecutors claimed Godwin then used a hacksaw to cut her body into 11 pieces. He turned himself in July 8 to authorities in Oregon. 

The defense and the prosecution never presented a motive. Godwin pleaded not-guilty for the murder. 
 

DAY EIGHT: 

The capital murder trial of David Godwin is nearing its end of the case. Several witnesses from both the defense and the prosecution have been called to the stand in the two week trial except the defendant himself, David Godwin.

Thursday morning, Godwin stated to the court he will not testify on the case.

The trial continued with the defense’s last witness Anne Burgess, a doctor, and researcher from Boston College.

The defense called her to perform an evaluation on Godwin in 2016.

She gathered data from school records, counseling, psychosocial history, and evidence from the crime.

Burgess confirmed Godwin had several suicide attempts and mental health issues including bipolar and depression.

She mentioned Godwin did “fairly well” in the army.

However, she stated he felt he didn’t belong and was honorably discharged and served 19 months out of a 6-month commitment.

She testified Godwin’s state of mind during the crime was disorganized and didn’t carry any mindset of a thought out plan.

She stated the knife was a weapon of opportunity and his failed attempt to clean up the scene are symbols of a disorganized crime.

In her opinion, Burgess believes Godwin did not have the mental ability to form an intent to kill.

Jurors were excused for the rest of the afternoon. Friday morning, the court will resume with closing statements from both parties.

Jurors will begin deliberation to determine Godwin’s innocence or guilt. If the jury finds him guilty of first degree murder, then it will move to the sentencing phase. The jury will then decide between the death penalty or life without parole. 

A verdict could be reached as early as Friday afternoon. 

DAY SEVEN:

Wednesday’s morning capital murder trial of David Godwin starts with one less juror. 

The judge removed juror #1 from the case after it came to his attention the juror had violated a court order. 

Jurors are ordered to not speak with any parties, witnesses, attorneys. 

The juror was seen on camera shaking a witness’ hand who was sitting outside on the side of the road Tuesday afternoon after the court hearing. The juror defended himself saying his actions were in his nature after being a firefighter for a few decades; he made sure the witness was okay. 

The judge removed the juror and was fined $100.

The case continued with 14 jurors as they heard William James Carter’s testimony. Carter worked with Carteret County Department of Social Services from May 1992 to August 1995. His responsibility was to prevent further abuse and neglect in a family household. 

Godwin, who was David Pratt at the time, made constant visits to social services. Carter testified of the neglect Godwin experienced while under the care of his biological mother, Debra Pratt. Records indicate Debra was frequently at parties, had mental health issues, did not provide daycare, was unemployed and did not maintain a supply of food for Godwin. 

Carter recalls a time when Godwin was found with fleas on his legs. 

Court documentation shows an investigation was made after Godwin reported he was touched inappropriately by Debra. It was found sexual abuse between Debra and Godwin to be “unsubstantiated”. 

The last witness to take the stand was Dr. James Hilkey, a forensic psychologist. Hilkey was contacted by the defense to do an evaluation on Godwin. Hilkey saw Godwin on five occassions. 

He found Godwin’s family history to be full of neglect and criminal behavior. His biological mother had a history of mental health issues and his biological father had alcoholic problems.

However, Hilkey said looking at the evidence presented and Godwin’s mental state, Godwin did not intent to kill Tamagne. 

The defense has one more witness to call on to the stand Thursday morning. 

Jurors will then decide if the defendant is guilty or not. If found guilty, Godwin faces the death penalty. 

DAY SIX: 

On Tuesday, defense witnesses began testimony in David Godwin’s murder trial at the Carteret County Courthouse in Beaufort.

The defense attorney’s first witness was Linda Godwin, who is the adoptive mother of David Godwin.

Godwin is accused of killing Wendy Tamagne who was found dead at her Country Club Apartments in July 2016.

During cross-examination, Linda recalls Godwin quickly entering their home and then leaving on July 4. Godwin had left for Oregon a day later where he turned himself in to authorities on July 8.

Linda states she never made contact with her son. It was not unusual for him to leave without notice for days.

It was quickly mentioned Godwin was or is still married. The status of the marriage was not determined. Godwin is also known to be a father to one child. Specific details on the child or the relationship to the mother were not mentioned.

Linda said Godwin had a hard time socializing with people, was not a neat person, but was “intellectually smart.”

Dr. Michael Reed, a clinical psychologist, recalls the defendant’s IQ is 128 —above average. Dr. Reed is the defense attorney’s second witness and helped Godwin with his social skills.

Godwin was brought in to see Dr. Reed by his mother, Linda when he was a teenager to be evaluated. Dr. Reed diagnosed Godwin with Aspergers Syndrome, a disorder that affects someone’s ability to be socially interactive.

Jurors learned Godwin had requested the death penalty while in jail saying he “can’t do it, need help,” after several suicide attempts.

Linda said she thinks her son is “full of remorse.”

Godwin’s best friend, William Dulaney, was next to take the stand. Dulaney and Godwin met in high school describing his best friend as a person who was “always there for you.”

Fast forward years later, Dulaney describes the night he and his best friend met Wendy Tamagne at a late night outing. Dulaney describes the defendant and the victim’s relationship as “really good friends.” The three were known to hang out together since Tamagne and Dulaney were roommates.

Ronda Gilliam was the defense’s fourth witness. She worked at a local bar in Beaufort about 25 years ago where she recalls the day Godwin’s biological mother, Debra Pratt, would stop by the bar.

Gilliam said she filed a report to authorities after she heard Pratt hitting her son and said it looked as if Godwin wasn’t fed and underdressed.

The defense will continue to build their case Wednesday morning. 

DAY FIVE:

A quiet Monday morning in the superior courtroom at the Carteret County Courthouse as jurors focus in on the footage the last night Wendy Tamagne was seen alive. 

David Godwin is being accused of murdering and dismembering Tamagne who was found dead at her Country Club Apartment in July 2016. 

Jurors began week two of the trial watching about an hour of surveillance footage at George’s Bar & Grill. It is the last place she was seen alive. The video shows the victim and the defendant in good spirits enjoying a few drinks. 

Video of the hours after the murder surfaced. SBI Special Agent Jones returned back to the witness stand to point out Godwin at a local Lowe’s Home Improvement Store hours after Tamagne was dead. He is seen purchasing a hacksaw. A hacksaw has been claimed as a murder weapon used to dismember Tamagne’s body. 

The last video showcases Godwin in a plaid shirt at CVS purchasing trash bags and sunglasses. The same items were found at Tamagne’s apartment, including a CVS plastic bag. 

The prosecution continued their case by reading out loud Facebook messages the victim and the defendant interchanged months leading up to the incident. In the messages, it reads Tamagne inviting Godwin to George’s Bar & Grill on the night of July 3. Tamagne in prior messages also referred to herself as a big sister to Godwin, something the defense has claimed Tamagne was to the defendant. 

Jones continued his testimony with the details of the day he flew back from Oregon with the suspect after he turned himself in to authorities. Jones stated the defendant was cooperative, respectful, and civilized. 

However, during their conversations (not regarding the case), Godwin mentioned he preferred a “liberal” environment where a judgment was nonexistent. He also voiced his opinion on prostitution, saying it should be legal and sexual intercourse be accepted more easily into American culture. 

Throughout their trip back to Morehead City Jones said Godwin was uncooperative once. Godwin was seen “lagging” on his way to a connecting flight that could’ve cost them to stay a night in Charlotte. 

During cross-examination, Jones stated there was a failed attempt at the suspect’s job to clean up the scene. Jones also reiterated that neighbors or anyone in the area did not hear “anything significant happen at the time.” 

The state has concluded their case.

The judge denied the defense’s motion to dismiss the charges.

The defense attorney called Godwin’s adoptive mother, Linda Godwin to testify as their first witness. Her testimony began by offering condolences to the victim’s family but was overturned by the judge.

She describes Godwin’s upbringing as a child “difficult.” She goes on to explain he had a hard time following the rules and disobeying teachers. She began taking him to therapy and medical health experts. 

It was at the age of ten, Godwin had attempted to commit suicide. It would be one of three attempts in his teenage years. One of those attempts was soon after his adoptive father was arrested for indecent liberties with a minor. Godwin was admitted to Holly Hill Hospital and prescribed antidepressants and antipsychotic medication.

It would be then, after visiting the doctor’s office, that he was diagnosed with bipolar disorder and Asperger’s Syndrome. 

Court will reconvene Tuesday at 9:30 a.m. 

DAY FOUR: 

Day four of the murder trial of David Godwin continued Thursday at the Carteret County Courthouse in Beaufort. 

Godwin is accused of killing and dismembering Wendy Tamagne in July 2016 where her body was discovered inside black trash bags. 

The first to take the stand Thursday morning was Clifford Andrew Bussert.

The former police officer was on shift in Warrenton, Oregon when Godwin surrendered for the murder of Tamagne. 

During Bussert’s testimony, he recalls the night of July 8 when Godwin knocked on the door of the police department and told Bussert, “You guys are looking for me.” He continued to stay “I’m wanted for murder.” 

Bussert spoke with the defendant inside an office. Throughout the conversation, Godwin mentioned he had purchased a Greyhound Bus ticket under the name of Justin Mann to arrive in Oregon. 

Godwin also admitted to dumping Tamagne’s car at a gas station in Clayton, N.C. before taking off. 

Bussert made contact with SBI Special Agent Jones who traveled to Oregon to retrieve Godwin. 

During cross-examination, Bussert stated officers in Warrenton were not actively looking for Godwin at the time. 

N.C. SBI Special Agent Patrick Raynor was in charge of the case. He was the third person to take the stand and confirmed Lowe’s was the location where the suspect purchased the hacksaw from. 

Raynor along with Saunders went to locate Tamagne’s car during the investigation. Throughout their search, Raynor coincidentally found Tamagne’s car after making a pit stop at a gas station in Clayton and noticed it parked beside his car. 

When the car was found, Raynor said the windows were rolled down and keys of the vehicle were found in the front seat. The state indicated it could have been left there for someone to steal. Raynor confirmed that could’ve been a possibility. 

Saunders who returned to the stand Thursday morning said a crumbled Lowe’s receipt was found in the cup holder of the victim’s car. The receipt stating a hacksaw was bought in cash with a change of $2.94. Detectives who had testified earlier said 94 cents were found in the pockets of a pair of pants at Tamagne’s apartment. 

Saunders said he does not know if Tamagne was asleep or awake before the murder. 

Dr. Gilliland, who performed the autopsy took a majority of the afternoon on the witness stand. Jurors during her testimony were shown graphic pictures of significant wounds on Tamagne’s body. 

Due to the graphic nature of the wounds, 9OYS will reveal that several stabs and slicing wounds were found on many parts of Tamagne’s body. 

Dr. Gilliland confirmed a hacksaw is consistent with the cuts to dismember the deceased’s body. 

During her testimony, jurors learned the cause of death was strangulation, despite several other wounds. Dr. Gilliland found premortem and post mortem wounds on the victim during the autopsy. 

To clarify, Tamagne’s body suffered injuries while she was alive and after she lost consciousnesses. She added her body was dismembered after she died. 

Dr. Gilliland also stated a lack of defensive wounds were found. 

The last person to take the stand Thursday was Tanisha Ray, with N.C. State Crime Lab. Her examination included DNA findings of the defendant on several items inside the victim’s home.  

Dr. Gilliland also stating autopsy found Tamagne’s alcohol level was higher than the legal limit. 

Godwin’s defense attorney clarifying that DNA does not indicate how long it is there for, what happens hours before an incident, or how DNA got to a certain location. Ray confirmed that is true. 

The state failed to finish their case Thursday afternoon. 

Court will resume Monday at 9:30 a.m. with the prosecution expected to finish their case. The defense will begin their case right after. 

DAY THREE:

The murder trial of David Godwin continued Wednesday morning at the Carteret County Courthouse. He is accused of murdering Wendy Tamagne, who was found dead at her Country Club Apartment on July 2016. 

SBI Agent Dean Saunders took the majority of the morning testifying and recalling images that were taken as evidence. 

Saunders stated a majority of blood stains were found in the victim’s master bedroom. During their search, they found no struggle or fight between the two in the room. 

He revealed black trash bags were found behind the master bedroom door with a hacksaw inside. The hacksaw has been claimed as the weapon to have used to cut Tamagne’s body into pieces. 

In the two-story apartment, Saunders stated a cat and a guinea pig were found dead in a trashcan downstairs along with multiple identification cards. He added a second guinea pig was found alive in the trashcan. 

While on the first floor of the apartment, Saunders said a bulk of knives had one spot missing. The prosecution then asking Saunders if it was consistent with the bloody kitchen knife that was found on the coffee table. Saunders confirmed it was. 

The agent also added the son’s bedroom had been moved around. 

During his testimony, jurors were shown first-hand the murder weapons: the knife and hacksaw. 

In one of the photos, Saunders identifies a hairdryer cord that was ripped apart from the machine. It was that cord that was discovered wrapped around the trash bags containing Tamagne’s body, dismembered into 11 pieces. 

Due to scheduling conflicts with other witnesses, Saunders testimony was cut short and will return to testify Thursday. 

After lunch, former forensic scientist, Martha Traugott, with N.C. State Crime Lab took the stand. She was in charge of finding chemical indications of blood on evidence submitted for lab work. 

Traugott identified blood stains on multiple items that were seized for evidence including the kitchen knife, the cord from the hairdryer, a blue t-shirt, the handle of the hacksaw, and a trash bag. 

Traugott said a sexual assault kit was also tested on the victim. Findings for possible sperm came back as negative. 

Court will resume Thursday at 9:30 a.m. 

DAY TWO:

David Godwin returned to court Tuesday morning, who is being charged with the murder of Wendy Tamagne on July 2016 and is facing the death penalty if convicted.

Multiple witnesses were called to the stand to paint a picture of the hours leading up to Tamagne’s death. 

Among those was Joseph Mann, who also goes by the name of “Ziek”. The two had formed a friendship a year before the murder and were good friends. 

During his testimony, Ziek had read text messages between him and Tamagne hours before she was killed. Ziek stated that Tamagne had invited him to come over her apartment, but declined. 

Throughout those messages, Tamagne does state that Godwin was in her apartment. In a particular message, Ziek states Tamagne messaged him saying “If Dave comes upstairs, I’m going to beat his fingers.” The last text message between the two was at 3:47 a.m. July 4. 

Ziek states his relationship between Godwin and him were acquaintances. He considered Godwin “a little bit off, but nothing that set an alarm off in my head.” 

He was considered a suspect at the time after being one of the last few people to speak to Tamagne but was let go after providing an alibi. 

Detective Nat Festerman with the Morehead City Police Department described the scene of the crime as he responded to the call. 

He stated he found a bloody knife on the coffee table, the downstairs bathroom toilet seat up (which was unusual since Tamagne’s son was out of town), and a dead cat in the trash can. 

Festerman stated neighbors did not hear anything.

During Tuesday’s hearing, detectives stated trash bags had been purchased at a local CVS store to put Tamagne’s body in, which was later found inside her apartment. 

Festerman said the victim’s body was cut into 11 pieces. 

It was on July 9, Festerman said Godwin turned himself in to authorities in Warrenton, Oregon for the death of Wendy Tamagne. Festerman and other officers flew to Oregon to extradite Godwin to N.C. He mentioned Godwin did not resist to return. 

Prosecutors then called Alisson Godby, a bartender at George’s Bar & Grill to testify. George’s Bar & Grill is the last place Tamagne was seen, according to witnesses. She recognized Tamagne at the bar on the night of July 3 but didn’t recognize Godwin. Godby states there was nothing unusual between Tamagne and Godwin. 

Mike Chahine, the former manager at George’s Bar and Grill, was also called to testify. 

It was SBI Special Agent Ransom Jones Jr. who began to connect the dots on the hours leading up to Tamagne’s death. During his testimony, he states a hacksaw was bought on July 4 at a nearby Lowe’s. He also states Tamagne’s car was found in Clayton, N.C. with a Lowe’s receipt found inside the vehicle. 

Video surveillance shows Godwin entering a Lowe’s store and heading to the saw section. 

Agent Jones stated Godwin then made a purchase of trash bags at a CVS store and purchased a one-way Greyhound ticket from Raleigh to Oregon after the murder. 

SBI Agent Nicholas Deming also testified. Deming said he located the defendant’s burner phone, a disposable cheap phone. On the phone’s history were only two things: first-degree murder in N.C. and the death penalty in N.C.

The maintenance supervisor at Country Club Apartment, Donald Hughes, who also goes by “Bunky”, recalls seeing Tamagne’s truck on July 4 at the apartment complex, but states it was not her driving the black Ford Ranger. In court, Bunky pointed to Godwin as the driver of the vehicle at the time. 

Kaitlyn Ann Sargent, CVS Store Manager, also testified recalling the day she checked out Godwin for the black trash bags on July 4. 

WNCT is working to find out the nature of Godwin and Tamagne’s relationship, and how they came to know each other. According to Godwin’s Defense Attorney, they were friends.

At the time of her death, Wendy was going through a divorce. She was the mother of one son who was in California at the time of the murder.

The defense attorney, nor the prosecution have presented a motive.

Godwin’s trial is happening at the Carteret County Courthouse in Beaufort.

Court is scheduled to resume Wednesday morning at 9:30 a.m.

Stay with WNCT for more updates.

DAY ONE: 

Inside the courtroom jurors and the victim’s family were shown graphic pictures from the day Wendy Tamagne was killed on July 4. 

Tamagne was found dead in her Country Club Apartment in Morehead City by officers after responding to a welfare check. 

Throughout Monday’s proceedings, David Godwin, the man accused of killing Tamagne, had not made eye contact with anyone and had his head down crouched in between his body.

Assistant District Attorney David Spence said after killing Tamagne, he bought a one-way Greyhound ticket to Warrenton, Oregon under a false name, Justin Mann. 

Upon arriving at Oregon, he learned he was wanted for the murder of Tamagne thus turning himself in to the police department. 

The defendant’s attorney, Buddy Connor, claimed his client was mentally challenged and suffered from several mental disorders. Connor states he was neglected by his biological parents who were teenage parents at the time of giving birth to Godwin. 

The defense attorney said this was a mental genetics case, claiming his client had attempted suicide multiple times during his adolescent years. 

He skips to Tamagne and Godwin’s relationship, saying they were friends, describing it as “brother and sister.” 

On the day after the murder, Connor claims Godwin woke up on her couch, went upstairs and found Wendy covered in blood and panicked. Godwin cleaned up the scene while having these “mania” thoughts. 

Connor said Godwin had no recollection of the act and was not premeditated. 

The prosecution began to build their case by calling their first witness, Wendy’s sister, Penny, to the stand, holding back tears as she spoke about her sister.

She mentioned Tamagne had a son who was in California at the time of the murder. 

Wendy and Penny’s mom, Jill, testified against her daughter’s murderer. She recalls the day she entered Tamagne’s apartment after not hearing from her for several hours. She noticed a bloody knife on the coffee table, and men’s clothing on the floor, an unusual scene at Tamagne’s apartment.  

At the time, Jill thought her daughter was a missing person’s case. 

Morehead City Police Officer Kenneth Mannon was then called to testify. Mannon responded to Tamagne’s apartment on July 5 when he found a similar scene that Jill had stepped into. He stated he “felt [his] stomach fall to [his] feet” as he entered the premises. Mannon stated a dead cat was in a trash can, the master bedroom’s mattress was covered in blood and Tamagne’s purse was still at the apartment. 

It was then Detective Lyle Evans and officers discovered Tamagne’s body parts cut into pieces in black trash bags, according to Evans. 

Day two will reconvene Tuesday morning at 9:30 a.m. 

Stay with WNCT as we continue to follow the case. 
 

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The murder trial of a man accused of killing and dismembering a woman in Morehead City in 2016 is scheduled to begin Monday.

Opening statements are scheduled for 10:00 a.m. Monday at the Carteret County Courthouse in the murder trial of 27-year-old David Godwin, who faces the death penalty.

Investigators say Godwin strangled and stabbed 37-year-old Wendy Tamagne to death in July 2016. Her body was found at Country Club Apartments after a welfare check on July 5, 2016.
 

Godwin was arrested in Clatsop County, Oregon on July 9, 2016.
 

Godwin’s murder trial is expected to last two weeks.

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A man accused of killing a Morehead City woman and fleeing to Oregon is expected to make his first court appearance in a North Carolina court on Friday.

Jail records show twenty-five-year old David Godwin was booked in the Carteret County Jail Thursday night. Godwin was arrested on July 9th in Clatsop County Oregon.

Godwin is accused of strangling, beating, stabbing, and dismembering 37-year-old  Wendy Tamagne. Investigators found Tamagne’s body on July 5th during a welfare check.

Godwin is currently in the Carteret County Jail without bond.

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