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Man pleads guilty in restaurant owner's slaying

Posted November 24, 2008

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— One of three men charged with killing the owner of a Stantonsburg restaurant last year has pleaded guilty and has agreed to testify against his co-defendants.

Reginald Lemonte Atkinson, 37, pleaded guilty Friday to second-degree murder and two counts of armed robbery in the July 28, 2007, shooting death of Song Ni.

Ni, 34, was killed in a home invasion. He owned the Jin Jin Chinese Restaurant on Moyton Avenue and lived across the street from it.

Three masked men with guns assaulted two employees as they walked to Ni's house after closing the restaurant, authorities said. The men stole $700 from one of the employees and shot Ni before fleeing, authorities said.

As part of a plea deal, Atkinson will be sentenced to 343 to 440 months in prison if he testifies against the others charged in the case.

Darryl Wilkes, 37, and Stacey Devon Atkinson, 19, have been charged with first-degree murder in the case. Steven Maurice Joyner, 38, and Ellis Hunter III, 24, have been charged as accessories after the fact.

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