17-year-old charged in Meares’ death

By: Staff report

ST. PAULS — A 17-year-old has been charged in the shooting death of Zachary Meares.

Jason O’Neil Bass is accused of voluntary manslaughter in the Nov. 28 shooting death of Meares, according to St. Pauls Police Chief Thomas Hagens.

Bass, accompanied by his lawyer, turned himself in Monday. He was taken to the Robeson County jail and placed under a $20,000 bond.

The St. Pauls Police Department and the State Bureau of Investigation presented evidence to the Robeson County District Attorney’s office before deciding on the charge, Hagens said.

“After careful consideration of the evidence it was decided to charge Jason O’Neil Bass with voluntary manslaughter,” Hagens said.

More people could be charged in relation to the incident, the police chief said.

Meares was shot and killed about 4 p.m. at 902 W. Broad St. in St. Pauls after a two-vehicle chase that might have begun in Lumberton.

Bass is a student at Lumberton High School, according to jail booking information.

Multiple sources have told The Robesonian the shooting followed a dispute over a cell phone. One of the boys in the truck apparently had been dating Meares’ sister and when they broke up, he refused to return the phone to her. The Robesonian has been told that at the end of the chase, Meares jumped onto the bed of a truck that Bass and two other youths were in and he was then shot three times in the face.

It was one of the other youths, not Bass, who had previously dated Meares’ sister.

Meares attended Lumberton High and played junior varsity baseball there as a freshman and sophomore, but was home-schooled after that. There were multiple photographs of him on his Facebook page playing baseball.


Staff report