Crime

‘I was going to get into a fight’: Man testifies about killing with a baseball bat

James Rosenbaum testifies about hitting Roy Davis with a bat

In July 2016, James Rosenbaum said he returned home to find Davis assaulting his girlfriend. He admitted to hitting Davis with a baseball bat, an act he says was in self-defense.
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In July 2016, James Rosenbaum said he returned home to find Davis assaulting his girlfriend. He admitted to hitting Davis with a baseball bat, an act he says was in self-defense.

James Rosenbaum arrived at his mobile home around 9:30 p.m. in July 2016 to the sounds of his girlfriend, Diane Durkin, screaming for help.

“I knew someone was in there doing something and I kind of knew I was going to get into a fight,” Rosenbaum said from a Horry County Circuit Court witness stand on Friday.

He ran to the back of the house where he found and grabbed a metal bat and rushed in the home.

“I seen Diane on the floor on her knees, see a naked man pulling her hair,” Rosenbaum said. That man was Roy Davis and Rosenbaum said it looked like he was trying to force Durkin into a sexual act.

“I hit Roy in the head with a baseball bat. … He fell back and staggered,” Rosenbaum said.

He hit Roy with the bat again and maybe one more time, but Davis didn’t stay down. The two then fought, holding each other down and exchanging punches. At one point, Rosenbaum said he shot Davis in the chest with a pellet gun trying to get him to stop.

Rosenbaum said he tried to retreat, but slipped on blood on the floor.

Davis fled toward the door and Rosenbaum said he grabbed him and punched him because he didn’t want Davis to leave. Rosenbaum wanted him arrested.

“After we tussled he stood up,” Rosenbaum paused, “and he just collapsed. He fell back on the mattress.”

That is how Rosenbaum recounted the last moments of Davis’ life. Rosenbaum and Durkin say they killed Davis in self-defense because he was trying to assault Durkin.

The state claims it was murder and is trying to prove its case before an Horry County jury. Both solicitors and the defense rested their cases Friday. The jury will begin deliberations next week.

Prosecutors say Rosenbaum was jealous over an affair between Durkin and Davis. The two suspects were charged with luring Davis to their trailer where they beat and killed him.

Most of the attack is heard on a 911 call where Rosenbaum and Durkin are asking for police and say Davis was trying to rape Durkin. You also can hear the sound of a bat hitting Davis’ flesh. Davis whimpers for help and for the attack to stop.

A 9-1-1 tape of the call as Roy Davis is beaten to death was played in court today. Diane Durkin and James Rosenbaum are accused of murdering Davis by beating him with a baseball bat in July 2016. Durkin and Rosenbaum claim it was in self defense.

Rosenbaum said he met Durkin through a dating site while the two were living in the northeast. Durkin had an affair, and Rosenbaum said they decided to move to South Carolina, though not because of the infidelity.

On July 11, Rosenbaum said he and Durkin got into an argument over finding work. He left and went to the gym. He returned to the sounds of Durkin yelling for help.

As police arrived, they saw Rosenbaum washing his hands in a sink. Rosenbaum said that was not an attempt to destroy evidence, but because Davis bit him during the fight.

Officers separated the couple and Rosenbaum said he didn’t think of himself as a suspect, but a victim.

When asked if he wanted Davis’ dead, Rosenbaum bluntly answered, “No sir. I wanted the police to come arrest him.”

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