David Doyle told anyone who would listen that he never trusted the government, and that's why he stockpiled gold and cash in his Charlotte lakeside home.
Now, government prosecutors are sifting through the pieces of their murder cases against two of Doyle's alleged killers after both of their trials ended in hung juries in May.
Doyle, 64, a wealthy Wyoming car dealer who moved to Charlotte in 2009, spoke often and openly about how he stashed gold and cash in the anticipation of a government or economic collapse.
In July 2015, he was found dead inside his home in the RiverPointe community on Lake Wylie. Doyle had been tied to a living room chair with parachute cord. Search warrants at the time said he had been burned, stabbed and beaten.
The attorney of one of the eventual suspects said Doyle was tortured because he would not give up the combination to his safe or the location of his gold. Investigators later called in a locksmith to open the safe. Inside they found loaded guns and an emergency stash of cash and gold coins. The amount of valuables has remained unclear.
Three men were arrested and charged with the killing, including Doyle's gardener, a former methamphetamine addict named Peter Gould who knew from conversations with Doyle what was supposedly hidden in his employer's home, Gould's attorney said at the time.
Gould quickly agreed to cooperate with the Mecklenburg County District Attorney's Office in its cases against his alleged accomplices — half-brothers Daniel Blakney and Tardra Bouknight, who, like Gould, had criminal records dating back more than a decade.
Dean Loven, Gould's attorney, says it was his client who came up with the idea of breaking into Doyle's home to steal the gold. But what started as a burglary on July 18, 2015, quickly escalated. A neighbor found Doyle the next afternoon lying in a pool of blood.
In an agreement with the district attorney's office, Gould eventually pleaded guilty to a series of lesser charges — and a 20-year prison sentence — in exchange for cooperating with prosecutors.
However, his testimony this month against Blakney and Bouknight proved to be less than persuasive for the juries.
On May 8, Superior Court Judge Greg Hayes declared a mistrial when jurors said they could not reach a unanimous verdict about Blakney.
Two weeks later, Hayes declared another mistrial when Bouknight's jury also deadlocked.
Assistant District Attorney Bill Bunting, head of the homicide team for the district attorney's office, told the Observer on Monday that prosecutors plan to retry Blakney at a later date. A decision on Bouknight is pending, said Bunting, who declined to comment further.
Blakney's attorney, Johneric Emehel of Charlotte, said Monday that his client should have been acquitted based on what he described as Gould's dubious testimony.
Gould "gave varied accounts of what happened that were inconsistent with the physical evidence," Emehel said. "The state failed to make its case, and the jury agreed."
Peter Anderson, who represents Bouknight, could not be immediately reached for comment Monday.