Apex man pleads guilty to vehicular death of US Marine

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Jackson Ruelle Davies
Jackson Ruelle Davies

An Apex man charged with second-degree murder in the vehicular death of a U.S. Marine in 2014 was sentenced to more than five years in prison after pleading guilty to a lesser charge of voluntary manslaughter.

Jackson Ruelle Davies, 20, pleaded guilty to voluntary manslaughter and felony death by motor vehicle of 22-year-old Cory Richard Reese, a U.S. Marine stationed at Camp Lejeune in Jacksonville, in New Hanover County Superior Court on Monday, according to Assistant District Attorney Doug Carriker.

Superior Court Judge Ken Crow sentenced Davies to 64 to 89 months in the N.C. Department of Corrections for the voluntary manslaughter charge, followed by 64 to 89 months in prison for the felony death by motor vehicle charge, which was suspended.

Reese died in a wreck in the 200 block of Rose Avenue at 1 a.m. Feb. 16, 2014, according to Wilmington Police Department Spokeswoman Linda Rawley.

A witness reported that Reese was struck by a vehicle driven by Davies on Ridgewood Heights Drive. After he was struck, Reese landed on the hood of Davies’ vehicle, according to an incident report. Davies then sped off at a high rate of speed–with Reese still on the hood–and turned onto Rose Avenue.

Davies lost control of his vehicle, drove off the road and collided with a telephone pole and a tree. Reese was thrown from the vehicle. He died a short time later from injuries, according to Rawley.

Davies was originally charged with felony death by motor vehicle and driving while impaired. He was indicted March 10, 2014, on charges of second-degree murder and felony death by motor vehicle.

The second-degree murder charge was reduced to a lesser charge of voluntary manslaughter as part of Davies’ plea agreement. Crow sentenced Davies at the top of the presumptive range, meaning that he will serve the most time that can be given on each of the offenses, Carriker said.

“This didn’t need to happen,” Carriker said. “And now two families are left with the consequences. But for one, those consequences are forever.”