LUMBERTON — The Robeson County District Attorney’s Office has released photographs of two male teenagers accused with the murder of a Fairmont High School student with the hope of getting them off the streets.
More than 50 lawmen with several agencies have been working overtime trying to find Jerod Kutree McNeill, 16, of 154 Glardenias Drive, Lumberton, Julius Rogers, 20, of 2362 Pleasant Hope Road, Fairmont, and Bobby Deshawn Jones, 19, of 2122 Turner Place, Lumberton. The three are accused with murder and conspiracy in the shooting death of 16-year-old DaQuan Stephens on March 22. Investigators say that McNeill, who was free after violating his probation, is responsible for firing the fatal shots, and is considered to be armed and dangerous.
The Robesonian had already published a photograph of Jones, and photographs of McNeill and Rogers are in today’s newspaper after they were provided by the District Attorney’s Office on Thursday. Two women have already been charged in the case.
“We appreciate the tips received thus far and ask citizens to keep providing information so that we can bring this case to closure,” Erich Hackney, an investigator with the District Attorney’s Office, said in a statement.
Hackney said Stephens’ killer should not have been free on the streets.
“Mr. McNeill was on probation at the time of this murder and had been wearing an electronic ankle bracelet as part of house arrest,” Hackney said. “However, he cut the ankle bracelet off four weeks ago and was never picked by juvenile authorities.”
Hackney said that authorities still have no motive for the “cold and calculated murder.”
“We have no information whatsover that Mr. Stephens knew his attacker,” he said. “Mr. McNeill simply walked up to Mr. Stephens on the basketball court and shot him several times at point-blank range.”
Hackney said McNeill continued firing shots after Stephens had fallen to the ground.
Authorities have “been working tirelessly” to make the additional arrests, according to Hackney.
“Over 50 officers from multiple agencies, including city, county, state, and federal authorities have worked on this case in some form or fashion since Friday,” he said.
Hackney said that anyone providing assistance to the fugitives will be charged and prosecuted.
Police on Monday arrested 22-year-old Shinaha Nashae Grissett of Fairmont and 23-year-old Natasha Deshaun Owens of Lumberton. Grissett and Owens have been charged with murder and conspiracy to murder in Stephens’ death, and both are being held in the Robeson County jail without bond. They were in a group with the three fugitives and a 2-year-old child that arrived at Calvin Haggin Park, where Stephens was playing basketball when he was killed.
On Thursday, more than 50 people gathered at the park at about 7:30 p.m. and lit candles in his memory. They were joined by police officers providing security.
One of Stephens’ close friends, Travis Nichols, led the crowd in a prayer and songs. Several people spoke about Stephens, saying he was always a “jokester” and loved to have fun. A funeral was scheduled for 11 a.m. today at Fairmont High School.
On Thursday, Danny Parker, director of Public Safety for Fairmont, said additional officers had been dispatched to all the schools in that town, including the high school, because of “threats” of violence.