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Kannapolis man charged with murder after roommate’s body found in trunk

By Steve Lyttle and Cleve R. Wootson Jr.
slyttle@charlotteobserver.com

Kannapolis police found the body of a man in the trunk of car Tuesday night, and investigators said they have charged his roommate with murder.

Police became suspicious Tuesday night after responding to a missing person report for a man last seen on Akron Avenue in Kannapolis. WSOC-TV reported that police found traces of blood there.

About the same time, police were notified that a vehicle had been spotted in the 2500 block of Lane Street, parked near the woods. The body of 52-year-old Davis Willis Gilyard was found in the trunk. Police have not said how he was killed.

Investigators later told other law enforcement agents and the public to be on the lookout for Jasper Joe Whitman, 36, and Misty Dawn Hernandez, 29, who were driving a dark green Isuzu Rodeo. Police said they were wanted for questioning.

Authorities took the pair into custody at an Interstate 85 exit in Davidson County. Whitman was held on a probation violation, and both were questioned in connection with Gilyard’s killing.

On Wednesday, police announced they had charged Whitman with murder. No charges had been filed against Hernandez, but police said they are investigating her possible involvement.

Whitman, who lived with Gilyard at the Akron Avenue home, spent about 10 years in North Carolina prisons for a string of crimes, including burglary, assault on a female, domestic criminal trespass, communicating threats and assault with a deadly weapon.

Whitman is being held in Rowan County jail without bond.

Kannapolis police ask that anyone with information in the case call them at 704-920-4000 or contact Cabarrus County Crime Stoppers, 704-932-7463. Staff writer Meghan Cooke contributed.

Wootson: 704-358-5046
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