NEW HANOVER COUNTY -- A 12-year-old murder case is once again making headlines. The man sentenced to death for murdering Laney High School student Danny Pence is getting a second chance at life. Jury selection was supposed to be Monday in Raleigh for Todd Boggess's re-trial, but his defense attorney had a family emergency and the start date has been pushed back a day. Danny was kidnapped from Wrightsville Beach by a couple who claimed to be interested in buying his car. Melanie Gray, who was 14 at the time, and her 20-year-old boyfriend Todd Boggess, drove Danny to Durham, where they beat him to death with rocks and then stole his car. Boggess was sentenced to death in 1997 but won an appeal on technicalities. Melanie Gray took a plea bargain and got a nine-12 year sentence. She was released from prison about a year and a half ago. Danny's mom says she's asking for a less harsh punishment for Boggess to save herself heartache. "We've asked for life in prison without a chance for parole. That is what I hope that he gets convicted of," Mrs. Pence said. Todd Boggess and Melanie Gray admitted to killing Danny Pence shortly after they were arrested in 1995. A recording of that confession is expected to be played in Boggess's retrial. "The death penalty would again be automatically appealed and i could be at the same place again ten years from now and i just don't want to deal with that again," Mrs. Pence said. Even though it's been 12 years since her son's murder, Charlene Pence still gets a lot of support from the community. She says members of her church are even accompanying her to the retrial.
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