Six teens charged in death of homeless Rocky Mount man
Posted January 17, 2012
Updated January 18, 2012
ROCKY MOUNT, N.C. — Six teenagers face murder charges in the death of a homeless Rocky Mount man, who was robbed of a 24-ounce beer.
Authorities say Juan De La Cruz, 67, died Saturday after being assaulted in November.
Police reports show De La Cruz was leaving a convenience store Nov. 19 when the teenagers approached him, stole the beer, then assaulted him and ran away.
Witnesses told police he was attacked behind the car wash at Turner's Mini Mart.
"Some teens jumped on a man. They robbed him and beat him," a caller told 911 in a call released Wednesday. "He's beat up very bad. He's bleeding everywhere."
De La Cruz spent more than a month in critical condition at Pitt County Memorial Hospital in Greenville before he died last week.
Rocky Mount police Capt. Laura Fahnestock says an autopsy shows De La Cruz died of complications from blunt force trauma to the head.
Three 16-year-olds – Trekwan Dickens, Mikel Jones and Xaviera Davis – are charged with first-degree murder, along with two 14-year-olds and a 13-year-old, whose names were not released due to their age.
Police say De La Cruz was from Cuba but had been alone in the U.S. for decades.
Those who knew him at the gas station say he was always polite and kind-hearted.