Two of three men accused of the kidnapping, murder and robbery of a wealthy Lake Wylie man in 2015 entered opposite pleas Thursday morning: Peter Gould pleaded guilty, Daniel Blakeney not guilty.
The third defendant, Tardra Bouknight, who is Blakeney’s brother, has also pleaded not guilty.
As part of his plea arrangement, Gould will now be expected to testify as a witness against Blakeney and Bouknight at their future trial.
David Doyle had been a car dealer in Wyoming before retiring to Charlotte in 2009, where he became known for voicing his distrust of the government and for telling neighbors he kept gold stowed away in his home in preparation for the nation’s downfall.
Doyle, 64, was found unresponsive by a neighbor in his Lake Wylie home on July 19, 2015.
Police say he had been tied to a chair, burned and stabbed with a knife, in an apparent search for the gold. The defendants were found with his jewelry and electronics, police say, but no gold.
Gould had been Doyle’s gardner. In 2015, his lawyer described him as the mastermind behind a plan to make off with the gold Doyle had told him about.
The plea arrangement changed Gould’s first-degree murder charge to second-degree, and dismissed the kidnapping charge. Gould pleaded guilty to the reduced murder change, first-degree burglary and robbery with a dangerous weapon. A sentencing has not been scheduled yet, but Gould faces a maximum sentence of life without parole plus 408 months in prison.
Blakeney has been charged with first-degree murder, first-degree kidnapping and first-degree burglary.