Stolen laptops sparked arrest in North Hills murder case

Travion Devonte Smith in court on Wednesday. (WNCN)

RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) – The prosecution spent Wednesday morning showing the jury how it built to case against the suspects in as detectives connected a burglaries to the murder of Melissa Huggins-Jones, a divorced mother who had moved to North Carolina from Tennessee.

Travion Devonte Smith is charged with murder in the case.

Melissa Huggins-Jones
Melissa Huggins-Jones

The on-site property manager of Kane Realty testified their leasing office was just below Huggins-Jones apartment and that it had been broken into the same night Huggins-Jones was murdered. Elizabeth Lee said two Lenovo laptops were among the items taken.

Lee said she kept the boxes with serial numbers, which helped detectives. She said she was able to give them the serial numbers from information she had kept.

Lenovo security official Clint Merritt testified how he identified the missing laptops for a detective.

“He found a Craigslist ad and one of the photos actually showed a Windows serial number on of the screen shots and with that we were able to positively identify that was the machine based on its Windows serial number,” Merritt said.

Smith was picked up for questioning, along with Ronald Anthony, outside  a Wake Forest Wal-Mart after another detective posing as a buyer went to meet the Craigslist seller of the laptop.

“I contacted several undercover units to provide security in the Walmart parking lot to meet Mike (McCollum) to purchase the laptop,” said Raleigh police detective Zeke Morse.

Michael McCollum said police raided his home, arrested him and seized a laptop that Travion gave him to sell.

“I didn’t know anything of a murder or anything at this point in time,” McCollum said. “Whatever you are looking for they have it. I got it from Travion.”

McCollum later said when he was later placed in a holding cell with Smith.

Smith talked about the murder there and showed no remorse, McCollum said.

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