James Daniel Wright faces the death penalty today after being found guilty of murder on Thursday.
Paul Leon Bloom did everything he could to keep from being killed when two men robbed him last January at a car wash in Greensboro.
He gave one of the robbers a cigarette. He handed over his wallet, which had $60 in it. But James Daniel Wright shot Bloom in the back of the head with a .22-caliber rifle anyway, a Guilford jury decided.After deliberating for the length of Thursday's work day, the jury said Wright, 20, was guilty of first-degree murder and robbery with a dangerous weapon. The man who helped Wright rob Bloom, Harvey Lee Oliver Jr., pleaded guilty to second-degree murder in exchange for his testimony against Wright. He will be sentenced in the next few weeks.
Bloom, 30, was enjoying a quiet Saturday evening before he was confronted by Oliver and Wright. He lived in a small house off Spring Garden Street in the Pomona section of Greensboro, but he often visited his parents, who live on Hudgins Drive. He had dinner with them that evening and fell asleep in an easy chair in his parents' living room. After his nap, he went to a convenience store, where he often played video games. Then he took his ill-fated trip to the Coliseum Car Wash at South Chapman Street and West Florida Drive. He was in one of the bays when Oliver and Wright approached him.
The two men, along with a third, Tracy Bernard Strickland, had driven over from High Point in a borrowed Cadillac with plans to get money from one of Oliver's former girlfriends. Then, they would strike out for Florida. The woman didn't live at Smith Homes anymore so the trio turned down Florida Street.
Oliver and Strickland testified that it was then that the three stopped at the car wash and noticed Bloom. Strickland stayed in the car during the robbery and has pleaded guilty to accessory after the fact to murder and accessory after the fact to robbery with a dangerous weapon. He, too, will be sentenced in the next couple weeks.
This morning, the same jury that convicted Wright will hear arguments whether Wright should get the death penalty.