N.C. Reporter Convicted for Failing to Leave Crime Scene

By: (AP) A former reporter for The Fayetteville (N.C.) Observer was convicted yesterday for failing to leave crime scene.

In March 2004, Robert Boyer, the crime reporter for the newspaper, was charged with resisting, delaying, or obstructing a police officer, a misdemeanor. District Court Judge Cheri Beasley yesterday sentenced Boyer to 60 hours of community service.

Boyer, 44, who lives in Burlington, N.C., said he now works as a freelance writer after resigning from the Fayetteville newspaper in April 2004.

Boyer's lawyer, Gerald Beaver of Fayetteville, said Boyer would appeal to Superior Court.

The Fayetteville Observer is paying Beaver to defend Boyer.

"I regret the judge's decision. The newspaper will support an appeal," said Mike Arnholt, the newspaper's managing editor.

About 1:30 a.m. March 3, 2004, Boyer went to an address where police were investigating the death of James Alan Poston, who died of a blow to his head.

The issue at the trial involved whether police should have used crime-scene tape to block public access to the street where the body was found. Sgt. Wade Owen described an officer who blocked access as "a piece of talking crime-scene tape."

Owen said Boyer refused six times to leave the scene.

Beaver argued that police should have followed their own policy and used crime scene tape to block access.


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