Local News

Report: Patio door was unlocked in North Hills slaying

Posted June 24, 2013

Melissa Huggins-Jones, photo from Facebook

— An investigative report released Monday provides more details in the brutal killing of a woman found dead last month in her North Hills-area apartment.

Melissa Huggins-Jones, 30, was beaten to death May 14 in the Allister North Hills Apartments complex, inside Interstate 440 off Six Forks Road in Raleigh. She had moved to Raleigh from Tennessee with her 8-year-old daughter a few weeks earlier.

The investigative report in the medical examiner's autopsy report states that the daughter awoke to screaming at about 5:30 a.m. May 14, but she went back to sleep, thinking the noise was from an adjacent apartment.

When the girl got up about two hours later, she found her mother in bed covered with blood, and she sought help from some construction workers nearby, according to the report.

Police didn't find any possible murder weapon in the apartment, but they found a patio door unlocked and footprints inside that door, the report states. A model apartment for the complex, which was located below Huggins-Jones' apartment, also had been broken into, according to the report.

Search warrants released three weeks ago said police found DNA evidence linking the two break-ins, and they tracked a Lenovo laptop that was stolen from the model apartment.

Ronald Lee Anthony, 23, of 1800 S. Bloodworth St., Raleigh, Travion Devonte Smith, 20, of Raleigh, and Sarah Rene Redden, 18, of 3209 Scotch Pine Trail, Wake Forest, were arrested May 22 on charges of first-degree murder. They were indicted by a grand jury earlier this month.

Investigators have said they believe the suspects tried to burglarize her apartment.


This story is closed for comments.

Oldest First
View all
  • Eightball Jun 25, 2013

    Seems there is no incentive for some 'members of society' to NOT kill others. Its not enough to rob someone nowdays, murder has to happen to 'complete the deal'....No more fistfights in high schools, now its gun battles...Funny, for all the 'advances' we have made, why does it seem that our country is 'de-volving'?...

  • jennp1231 Jun 25, 2013

    It sounds as though she lived on the second floor. These "people" were very brazen to somehow get onto her 2nd floor balcony to rob her. I'll be honest, I live in a 2nd floor apartment and have always kept the balcony door unlocked. You think you're safe and that no one is going to try to climb up there. Robbers usually want a quick way in and out. I can say after I read this article, I locked my balcony door real quick! The whole thing is such a shame.

  • In Decisive Jun 25, 2013

    This case reminds me of the circumstances surrounding the Kathy Taft case (minus the rape, and involving 3 people not just 1). Crime of opportunity, killer or killers don't know the victim. 1 victim beat to death, the other victim left alive and not harmed. Many people were opposed to the death penalty in the Kathy Taft case even though the DA tried for it. I'm for the death penalty when warranted. I'll be surprised if the DA doesn't go for it in this case.

  • Gunny the Racist Jun 25, 2013

    Hopefully, this state will get the death penalty going again before these three go to trial...and we make it fast and furious with a painful ending.

  • glarg Jun 25, 2013

    "Baloney. A properly secured sliding door can't be knocked off the track in under a minute. That's not to say they couldn't kick it in or break the glass, but my guess they wouldn't want to make that much noise."

    Guess you never tried putting a wrecking bar up against an aluminum frame. The aluminum loses.

    Since these guys were intending to break into apartments, its kind of obvious they would pick a method that worked. And the daughter reported "waking up to screams" so they werent that concerned about noise.

  • Bewitched Jun 25, 2013

    247 - it sounds from the article as if they came in through the unlocked patio door. A second floor apartment isn't usually that high from the ground/unreachable. Sad all around!

  • 247 Jun 25, 2013

    From this article, she was on the second floor, so not sure which door they came in. Regardless they have no respect for life so they do not deserve to live.

  • Trixie Jun 25, 2013

    A gun works if you have the time to get it. If you're lying in bed and someone comes in your room you aren't going to have much time to do anything. A dog or an alarm is the way to go because they alert you to the break in and give you enough time to get a weapon. Most criminals don't bother with homes with dogs, no matter the size.

  • STRAWBERRY LETTER 23 Jun 25, 2013

    SisterChristian, great points! Especially your last sentence. But let's remember, this isn't just for "single women." Single men and married people and anyone else, should heed this advice.

  • SisterChristian Jun 25, 2013

    For single women: always put a wooden stick in a sliding glass door, own a gun, have a good guard dog. By the time trash like this breaks in, your dog will be barking and you can just grab that .38 special and start shooting the minute the intruders come in. "Shoot to kill" ... ! My philosophy: you violate my home, you pay the price.