RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) – The four people charged in connection with a fatal hit-and-run that killed teen Katie Crow, a Green Hope High School student, appeared in a Wake County courtroom Monday.
Jourdan Chanquion Mack, 20; Beth Strange, 18; Abijah James Masse, 17; and Joshua Odell Simmons, 17; are all facing first-degree murder charges. Mack graduated from Green Hope High School in 2014 and Masses is currently a senior at Green Hope.
Simmons is a senior at Panther Creek High School and Strange graduated from Panther Creek this month.
Police say the death was a result of a drug deal.
Judge Keith Gregory told the four, “You’ve been charged with one count of murder. You could receive the death penalty or life without the possibility of parole.”
Those were frightening words for Strange, who just graduated from high school two weeks ago.
Masse’s lawyer, Julian Hall, tried to get him released on $3 million bond, arguing that Masse “has never even had a traffic ticket.”
Hall said Masse is “very heavily involved” in his church and has been active in the youth ministry for five years.
“These are very good kids,” Masse said. “It’s a tragedy for all involved.”
But the judge refused bond, saying it was a murder case.
Investigators said emergency crews responded to Lawrence Road near the entrance of Walnut Street Park and found 16-year-old Katie Crow lying in the street with life-threatening injuries around 9:30 Friday night. She was taken to WakeMed where she later died. Investigators believe Crow was robbed during what they believe was a pre-planned drug transaction.
While trying to fight back, investigators said the teen fell from the truck – a burgundy Ford F150 – driven by Simmons.
“This is a terrible tragedy for all families involved. With around-the-clock joint efforts by our Traffic Safety Team and Criminal Investigations Division, we hope that being able to wrap this up somewhat relatively quickly will help will help start the healing process for them and our community,” said Captain Randall Rhyne of Cary’s Criminal Investigations Division.
Sunday afternoon, a memorial was made at the place where Crow lost her life. The memorial continued to grow on Monday.
Related story: Four arrested, charged with murder of Cary teen
On Sunday evening, Katie’s parents released a statement.
“We are devastated by the loss of our daughter Katie, but we appreciate the outpouring of love and support from so many of our friends.
“Katie was a very loving, caring person and it is a shame her life has ended so soon. We ask for your prayers and good wishes, but also your respect for our privacy at this time.
“We’d like to thank the Cary Police Department for working so diligently on this case and quickly apprehending four suspects.”
Anyone with additional information that may help with this case is asked to contact Cary Police.