Murder, arson convictions upheld in death of Army veteran

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Garry Joseph Gupton (Photo: Guilford County jail)

RALEIGH, NC (AP) — First-degree murder and arson convictions of a North Carolina man have been upheld in the death of an Army veteran set on fire in a hotel room.

The state Court of Appeals on Tuesday rejected arguments by Garry Joseph Gupton, now serving a life prison sentence for Steven White’s death in 2014. Gupton’s lawyer failed to convince the three-judge panel that prosecutors lacked the evidence for arson and to prove Gupton’s sanity when the crime occurred.

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Court documents show Gupton and White met at a Greensboro gay bar and appeared intoxicated. Gupton testified he “started freaking out” and hallucinating after White became sexually aggressive at the hotel. Evidence shows Gupton struck and strangled White and lit the bed’s comforter on fire before putting it on him. White died days later.