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Attorney: Cary teen's death an accident, not murder

Posted June 29, 2015

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— The death of a 16-year-old Cary girl last week was an accident, not murder, an attorney for one of the four people accused in the teenager's death said Monday.

The four people charged – Jourdan Chanquion Mack, 20; Beth Strange, 18; Abijah James Masse, 17; and Joshua Odell Simmons, 17, all of Morrisville – were all denied bond during a court hearing Monday.

Investigators said the four suspects met the victim, Katherine "Katie" Burdick-Crow, at Walnut Street Park on Friday night for a drug deal.

According to a search warrant, Burdick-Crow chased two of the suspects after they stole marijuana from her that she planned to sell to them. They got into a truck, and she jumped onto the step rail near the driver, according to the warrant.

The driver, Simmons, then started driving faster and punched Burdick-Crow in the face and head several times until she fell from the moving truck, according to the search warrant. She died early the next day at WakeMed.

Monday's court hearing was emotional for the suspects' family and friends, some of whom wept and hugged each other.

"These are not bad kids that you're dealing with," said attorney Julian Hall, who represents Masse. "We're not looking at this thing like your typical murder. It seems like an accident."

Hall asked Masse's parents to stand as he addressed the court and told the judge that his client had never been in trouble before.

"He works in the children's ministry at the Summit Church," Hall said. "He's been involved in the youth ministry for upwards of five years. Again, a very good kid. It's a tragic incident for all of the families involved."

The victim's parents released a statement, saying they are devastated by their daughter's death: "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."

Two of the four suspects were students at Green Hope High School, the same school Burdick-Crow attended. Cary officials said Masse is a student at Green Hope, and Mack graduated from there in 2013. Simmons is a student at Panther Creek High School, and Strange graduated from there in May.

A man called 911 after finding Burdick-Crow's body in the street as he left Walnut Street Park. He told an emergency dispatcher that she was bloody and unresponsive. He also described a male witness who was acting erratically and wanting to leave the scene.

"There's a gentleman here with blood all over his face," the caller said in a recording released Saturday. "He's acting very strange. He said not to call the police, but I'm calling you because, this girl, I don't feel a pulse or anything. Someone needs to get here really quickly."

40 Comments

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  • Catherine Bearden Jul 2, 2015
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    She didn't deserve to be left for dead in the middle of the road. She made some very bad choices this past year. She has paid a hefty price for her choices. At the very least, you could be kind to those are grieving her loss.

  • Catherine Bearden Jul 2, 2015
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    I knew Katie, not well, but I knew her. She was a good kid. When you look at a person's life, especially a young life, you have to look at the totality of their life to determine their character. Katie made some very bad choices over the last year. She did not deserve to die for them. You do not know these kids or the circumstances of their lives.

  • Richard Hertz Jul 1, 2015
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    Everyone claims marijuana is a safe drug.
    Well it just ruined 5 lives. Well one for sure the other 4 will get off on next to nothing.

  • Melvin Odom Jun 30, 2015
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    Well one thing I can say ,, looks like we are slowly getting rid of the dope dealers as the happy buyers of pot killed another good dope dealer in Fayetteville last night.

  • Cary Tom Jun 30, 2015
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    I completely agree. A lot of people these days seems to want the laws to conform to there personal choices and in some time some will. But at the moment it is crystal clear. Pot is illegal period. Its not complicated

  • Jim Buchanan Jun 30, 2015
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    And the driver admitted punching her and another admitted they were going to rob her. All guilty!!!!

  • David Collins Jun 30, 2015
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    The defense attorney for the Boston Bomber pretty much said the same thing.

  • Kathy Beasley Rivenbark Jun 30, 2015
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    As usual, parents say, " Great kid, blah, blah, blah...." If that's the case parents, why is your great kid robbing someone for drugs, why is your great kid selling drugs, why is your daughter hanging out with not 1 but 3 guys, why is your son punching a girl in the face, then leaves her injured on the road? Yeah, they all seem to be little boy/girl scouts...please spare us!

  • Sean Creasy Jun 30, 2015
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    "These are not bad kids that you're dealing with," said attorney Julian Hall, who represents Masse. "We're not looking at this thing like your typical murder. It seems like an accident."
    Read more at http://www.wral.com/attorney-cary-teen-s-death-an-accident-not-murder/14745517/#Iy6ivetJJsZatfEX.99.... Does he really think that?... Let's see... Quote: They stole the dope she was going to sell them and then when she tried to get it back, the driver punched her in the face knocking her off a moving vehicle.... Sounds like 2nd degree murder to me....

  • Shannon Meredith Jun 30, 2015
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    It is interesting to me that Wral isn't reporting that one of the kids confessed to police that they had intended to rob the victim that night, as well as that the driver confessed to hitting her "at least three times" in the head and face. Definitely do not deserve any sort of bond!

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