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Fayetteville man convicted in death of retired teacher, Army veteran

Jameel Malik Davidson was sentenced to life in prison without parole in the 2017 stabbing death of Gerald Gillespie.


A Fayetteville man has been sentenced to life in prison without parole in the 2017 stabbing death of a retired teacher and Army veteran.

Jameel Malik Davidson was convicted Friday of first-degree murder in the death of Gerald “Jerry’’ Gillespie, the Cumberland County District Attorney’s Office said. He was sentenced by Senior Resident Superior Court Judge Jim Ammons.

Gillespie, 86, was found dead in his apartment off Owen Drive on Jan. 18, 2017.

Senior Assistant District Attorneys Rob Thompson and Robby Hicks prosecuted the case. Davidson is appealing the conviction.

This was the second time the case had been tried. A trial last year ended in a hung jury, Hicks said.

Hicks said Davidson lived in the apartment below Gillespie’s.

He said testimony at the trial showed that while law enforcement officers were on the scene investigating, Davidson told someone the man in the apartment had been stabbed.

“He knew that before it had been released publicly,’’ Hicks said.

Investigators obtained a search warrant for Davidson’s apartment. During the search, Gillespie’s blood was found on shoes belonging to Davidson, Hicks said. Davidson was arrested a few days later in Florida.

Davidson was represented by Bernard Condlin.

Gillespie was an Army veteran who retired as a master sergeant. He served multiple tours in Vietnam and served with the 5th Special Forces Group, his daughter-in-law Pamela Gillespie said.

After retiring from the Army, Gillespie became a math and science teacher. He taught at Dunn Middle School and at Overhills Middle School, she said. 

Gillespie was born in the Philippines. His mother was Filipino and his father was an American soldier.

His father returned to the U.S. During that time, Gillespie’s mother became ill. He lived in orphanages and on the street until a doctor took him in and helped get him to the United States, Pamela Gillespie said.

His father died soon after Gerald Gillespie came to the United States, she said.

“He came here with absolutely nothing,’’ Pamela Gillespie said.

A family member found Gillespie in his apartment after he failed to show up at their business, Flow & Grow Hydroponic Garden.

“He came to our business every day like clockwork,’’ Pamela Gillespie said. “That’s how we knew something was wrong.’’

She said her father-in-law also frequented K&W Cafeteria, where he would eat with friends nearly every day.

“He was phenomenal,’’ she said.

Lorry Williams is editor of CityView TODAY. She can be reached at lwilliams@cityviewnc.com. Have a news tip? Email news@CityViewTODAY.com.

Cumberland County, murder conviction, life in prison, veteran