Local News

Teen Accused Of Double Murder Makes First Appearance In Court

Posted May 17, 2005
Updated December 9, 2006

— A Chapel Hill teen, who police say confessed to killing his parents, made his first court appearance Monday on charges that he shot them and left them in their home for almost two weeks.

On Saturday, the Chapel Hill Police Department charged 16-year-old Adam Sapikowski with two counts of first-degree murder in the deaths of his parents, James and Alison Sapikowski.

During his court appearance, Adam Sapikowski briefly glanced at his family when he walked into the courtroom. Relatives sobbed as the judge read the charges against him.

The judge at the hearing appointed a public defender to the teen and cautioned him several times about talking to anyone else about the case.

Police said they are now working on a timeline to try to figure out what happened and why.

The investigation began Friday night when an out-of-state relative called the Chapel Hill Police Department to report that she had been unable to contact the family in Chapel Hill for several days.

According to court papers, when police arrived at the Sapikowskis' Whitley Drive house, an interior door of the home was barricaded with chairs and had a towel under the door.

Once officers made their way inside the room, they found the first victim on the floor wrapped in blankets. After following blood droplets, they found another body also wrapped in blankets in the master bathroom.

Alison Sapikowski had been shot once in the head and once in the shoulder. James Sapikowski, a coach of a club hockey team at UNC, was shot three times in the head. Both were shot at fairly close range.

A preliminary autopsy report shows that the parents may have been dead for as long as two weeks before police discovered their bodies.

The report means the couple may have died sometime around the weekend of April 30, the weekend, police say, Adam Sapikowski was seen at his school prom.

"We believe that he attended the prom," Chapel Hill Police Chief Gregg Jarvies said. "What he did after that point is still part of our investigation."

The search warrant indicates a girlfriend led police to Adam Sapikowski, who had been checking in and out of a Durham hotel since May 1. Police seized several items from the home, including a pair of bloody jeans, computers, a credit card, a shotgun and an aluminum baseball bat.

Police met with administrators Monday at Durham Academy where Adam Sapikowski attended school to see if they could find out more about the teen around the time the slayings occurred.

Adam Sapikowski is being held at the Orange County Jail without bond. He is expected to make his next court appearance in June.

Aside from Adam, the Sapikowskis had an older daughter away at school. People who knew them described the family as very close and loving, saying they often saw them playing tennis at their country club.

In 2002, the FBI studied the relationship of killers and their victims. It found that nearly 13 percent of victims were killed by a family member. In about half of the cases, an argument led to the killing.

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