When Kimberly Joy Bland’s body was discovered in her Wilmington apartment in 2019, her ex-boyfriend was initially suspected of her death.
Bland, 58, was stabbed to death — she sustained 28 stab wounds to her body, according to her autopsy.
According to witness testimony and court records, Bland’s roommate Andrew Webster Boynton at the Mill Creek Apartments off Randall Parkway told Bland’s friends and business clients that she had gone on vacation to Florida with ex-boyfriend Ian Cross.
Boynton was eventually arrested and charged with murder in connection with Bland’s murder. He is currently on trial for murder in New Hanover County.
read this:A man accused of stabbing a Wilmington roommate to death faces a jury in New Hanover
background:The trial of a Wilmington man for the murder of his roommate begins
Assistant Attorney General Doug Carrecker and Amy White are suing the case in favor of the state. Boynton is represented by Assistant Solicitor General Thomas Woodrum.
Before evidence began pointing to Boynton, police suspected Cross of being linked to Bland’s death in November 2019. According to court records, investigators brought him in for questioning and searched his phone.
Cross has not been charged in connection with Bland’s death, but he testified in court on Thursday that he was convinced at the time that it would be.
Ex-boyfriend testifies in court
Currently, in custody on unrelated charges, Cross has taken the stand in a uniform and has detailed the turbulent nature of their years-long relationship.
“I was bad for her,” Cross said. “She was one of the best people I’ve met in my life.”
Cross said the two met around 2015 and started dating soon after. Cross said he eventually moved in with Bland in her apartment on Carlton Place in Wilmington. He said he never lived with her at her Mill Creek Apartments.
Cross admitted to using drugs and alcohol throughout his life and during his relationship with Land. He admitted stealing money and property from Bland “more than once”. During their relationship, Bland eventually issued a domestic violence protective order against Cross.
Cross said he was separated with Bland at the time of her death. He testified that their romance ended in the spring of 2019, but they remained friends and had some kind of connection.
When he heard that Bland was missing, Cross said he tried to call her and text her. When he did not receive a response, Boynton called. Cross testified that Boynton told him that Bland was “with Ian.” “I’m Ian,” Cross replied, and said Boynton stuttered and hung up the phone.
“I got scared,” Cross said.
Then Cross discovered that the police were looking for him. He complied with an interview and allowed the police to search his phone. Cross said he lived in Florida from ages 8 to 16, and for a short time around 2008, but that he doesn’t currently have active connections to the state.
Cross has not been charged in connection with Bland’s death.
The neighbor claims that Bland was afraid of Boynton
Also Thursday, a former neighbor of Bland testified that she had expressed concerns about fighting and aggressive behavior with Boynton when she was living on Carlton Place.
The neighbor testified that Bland said she was “afraid he’d kill me,” and expressed these fears on multiple occasions during their time as neighbors from 2009 to 2015.
The neighbor said he met with Land and Boynton but did not witness any alleged attacks or verbal abuse. He said it’s been nearly 10 years since he last saw Boynton, and he hasn’t been able to recognize him in the courtroom.
Boynton’s trial began Monday in New Hanover County. Twelve jurors and three backup jurors were selected and the presentation of evidence began Tuesday afternoon.
Bland’s friends and clients testified about the days Bland disappeared. Law enforcement officers and crime scene investigators detailed how they found the missing woman’s body in her apartment, wrapped in trash bags, wrapped in a rug and pushed under her sofa.
The trial was suspended Thursday and is due to resume on Monday due to threats from Hurricane Ian on Friday. The state is scheduled to continue providing evidence and calling witnesses on Monday.
Jamey Cross is the StarNews public safety reporter. You can reach her at [email protected] or message her on Twitter @jameybcross.