October 21, 1999
Raleigh, North Carolina
Arthur Martin Boyd Jr is executed for the murder of his former girlfriend
Wanda Phillips Hartman (32) and Boyd had lived together for around three and a half years before she moved back in with her parents several months before her murder. Boyd attempted repeatedly to restore their relationship, but Hartman was firm in her decision. Eight days before Hartman’s murder, Boyd visited her at her parents’ house, again in an attempt to reconcile, until her father told Boyd “to get off of [his] property and stay off of it.” Boyd threatened he would “hunt [Hartman] down” and told her, “I’ll see you like a German submarine, when you are not expecting it.”
On August 7, 1982, Boyd learned Hartman and some of her family would be attending a church-sponsored car wash. Boyd spent the morning drinking alcohol and consuming unspecified drugs before he took a taxi to a shopping center near the church car wash. Inside the mall, Boyd purchased a lock-blade knife.
Boyd met up with Hartman in the shopping center and followed Hartman, her 8-year-old daughter, and her 76-year-old mother to the car wash parking lot. Boyd and Hartman then spoke privately. Eventually, Hartman tried to leave the conversation, stating she had nothing more to say about the end of their relationship, telling him “that she had lived in hell for three months, [and] that if he was going to kill her [to] go ahead and kill her and get it over with.” Boyd then pulled the pocketknife he had just purchased but assured Hartman he wouldn’t harm her. Despite his claim, Boyd began to stab Hartman in front of her mother and daughter.
Hartman’s mother attempted to intervene in the attack but was pushed to the ground. Hartman was stabbed 37 times in her neck, back, chest, arms, and hands. One wound punctured her right lung, three punctured her left. Hartman’s stomach and sternum were also pierced. Boyd then “calmly” walked away. He was later found hidden between two parked cars and arrested. Emergency services transported Hartman for treatment but she died of blood loss en route to the hospital.
At trial, Boyd did not deny killing Hartman. Instead, his defense focused on his level of intoxication at the time of the murder which, the defense contended, affected his judgment. This tactic did not work and Boyd was sentenced to death.
Boyd was executed by lethal injection at the age of 54 on October 21, 1999. His final statement was directed toward Hartman’s daughter who had witnessed the murder.
“I love you, Laura,” Boyd said.
She responded by shaking her head and saying, “No you don’t.”
“13 Who Were Executed.” The News and Observer [Raleigh, North Carolina]. November 22, 2000
“Boyd executed for murder of ex-girlfriend.” Asheville Citizen-Times. October 22, 1999
Rawlings, Wade. “State prepares to execute Boyd.” The News and Observer. October 21, 1999
Arthur Martin Boyd, Jr., Petitioner-appellant, v. James B. French, Warden, Central Prison, Raleigh, North Carolina; Michael F. Easley, Attorney General Of North Carolina, Respondents-Appellee s, 147 F.3d 319 (4th Cir. 1998). US Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit – 147 F.3d 319 (4th Cir. 1998). Argued March 4, 1998. Decided June 19, 1998 (archived: https://law.justia.com/cases/federal/appellate-courts/F3/147/319/635022/)
“Man held on charge of stabbing woman as family looks on.” The News and Observer. August 8, 1982