Local News

Teens Charged In Connection With Deputy's Murder Appear In Court

Posted February 16, 2004

— While hundreds of people grieved Monday for Deputy Mark Tucker in a church, families grieved for their sons in a Wake County courtroom.

District Attorney Colon Willoughby has not decided yet whether to seek the death penalty against 18-year-old Matthew Grant. Grant is accused of shooting Tucker Thursday in a Wake County field.

"The fact that a law enforcement officer was killed is an aggravating circumstance for which a case could be a capital case," district attorney Colon Willoughby said.

Investigators said 18-year-old Lawson Rankin and 18-year-old Justin Franke helped Grant hide the murder weapon and establish an alibi for him.

"They helped participate -- these others did -- in trying to cover his tracks and give him an alibi for not being at that scene," said Maj. Tommy Matthews, of the Wake County Sheriff's Office.

Franke's parents told WRAL they cannot believe their son would be involved in something like this. They said he is a college student with no record. They are getting the community to write letters to the judge on his behalf.

The judge set bond for the three suspects at $1 million. Sheriff Donnie Harrison said there could be another arrest in the case.

"We may have another one. We don't know yet. We're still looking. It's still an ongoing investigation," Harrison said.

The next hearing for the teens is set for March 8. On Monday, the judge appointed attorneys for Grant and Franke. Rabkin hired his own attorney.


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