Local News

5 Charged in Restaurant Owner's Death

Posted August 2, 2007

— Song Ni came to North Carolina to live the American dream. But that dream ended this past weekend when he was shot and killed during a home invasion.

Five people were arrested Thursday in the shooting death of the Stantonsburg restaurant owner, authorities said.

Ni, 34, was killed in a home invasion and robbery late Saturday. He owned 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 Saturday night, authorities said.

The men stole $700 from one of the employees and shot Ni before fleeing, authorities said.

Reginald Lemonte Atkinson, 36, Darryl Wilkes, 36, and Stacey Devon Atkinson, 18, have been charged with first-degree murder in the case, authorities said. Steven Maurice Joyner, 37, and Ellis Hunter III, 23, have been charged as accessories after the fact.

The men also are suspected in a series of armed robberies and other crimes in the past year from Raleigh to Wilson, authorities said.

The murder that turned Ni’s Wilson County home into a crime scene shook up Ruth Isler who lives next door to the family.

“Good people, good people,” she said. “They kept to themselves."

Ni lived with his girlfriend, their two young daughters and two of his employees.

“There were five people in the house” said Wilson County Sheriff Wayne Gay. “The suspects held a gun to the children’s heads and put a blanket over them to keep them from crying.”

A tip about another crime in Pitt County lead investigators to the three suspects now in jail without bond. Bond for Joyner and Hunter, charged as accessories, was set at $75,000.


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  • NCMOMof3 Aug 4, 2007

    seems to me that if we look back in history, our prisons were less full and our crime rate was much lower when our penalties were harsher. We need to get away from worrying about "mistreating" the criminal and go back to the "old ways". Painless lethal injection? Hang 'em or burn 'em at the stake. Get caught stealing? Awww, come here and lets give you a hug. Not,,,come here and let's cut off a hand. If what we are doing now is not working, let's go back to what did. These 5 guys killed someone and traumatized a family for $700 and some poor sap will want to give them therapy and investigate how terrible their childhood was. We've arrested them. We know they did it. Now we terminate them. Painfully and publically, as an example to all others that think they can do the same thing.

  • Rocknhorse Aug 3, 2007

    rargos - you said that "if these five thugs were white -- then this would be a "hate crime" "

    Why would it be considere a hate crime if the punks were white, but it's not since they are black? Are you speaking from inside knowledge or just venting steam? Personally I don't see this as a hate crime, regardless. I see it as simply a bunch of thug-punks who think nothing of blowing someone away for chump change. I don't really think they (thug-punks) would discriminate if they thought they could make a quick buck. A hate crime is choosing your victim specifically based on their nationality. At least that's the way "I" would interpret it.

    When I read in the news about crimes committed, I focus on the CRIME, not the criminal. They could be black, white, hispanic, purple, striped, plaid or polka-dotted. What does it matter what color their skin? Why does it always have to come back to that. The fact is, a crime was committed. If they are guilty, they should pay!

  • rargos Aug 3, 2007

    Only one of these thugs will actually do any real time : the rest will plead down to "common law robbery" or some such nonsense.

    And for the person who said race doesn't matter : the truth is that it *shouldn't* matter, but it does. Or rather, it would matter if these five thugs were white -- then this would be a "hate crime" and it would increase the chances that someone might actually face the death penalty.

    Of course, in NC there's now a racial justice commission that automatically hears an appeal if you're sentenced to death and are a minority. If you're white, no such luck. So much for a color-blind country.

  • prodigalrn Aug 3, 2007

    If there was ever justification for the death penalty, this would be an appropriate situation. The cowards' pre-meditation was clearly evident, and with malice and forethought they killed. These guys need to be given the ultimate punishment, for they are clearly not candidates for "rehabilitation". My deepest sympathies go out to the family/friends/customers of the victim. What a bunch of loser cowards that did this.

  • saywhaaaaat Aug 3, 2007


  • DavidJonathan Aug 3, 2007

    One of the worst crimes imaginable. Disgusting. There are just no words to describe something this evil.

  • isabella731 Aug 3, 2007

    As long as our system of justice (injustice) considers the rights of the criminal more important to preserve than the rights of the victims and their families, this sort of thing will keep happening. It's not a race issue, it's a loser issue. Somebody works his butt off trying to make a living for his family and these losers come along and kill him for what? 700 bucks? Now there are two children who don't have a father, and three adults whose futures are unsure now because the fate of the restaurant is yet unknown. This wasn't a random thing. These men watched that restaurant, knew what time it closed and what time the employees left and where they lived. I get so mad when I hear of stuff like this happening!

  • Jay4 Aug 3, 2007

    Am very sad to learn of this restaurant owner's murder. Agree with others - let those who did this crime, hang in front of the public - as soon as possible. As long as our justice system remains an injustice system, these kinds of crimes will continue. That and I surely do wish the victim was a concealed carry NC citizen who was carrying that night!

  • Tax Man Aug 3, 2007

    Wow, did you see those mug shots - real thugs! No bail should remain for the three and they should all die together in one big, happy execution. Of course we need to prove they are guilty - but I am sure glad they are off the streets. Keep them in jail the entire time and crime in our area will drop. These men are dangerous criminals with no respect for anyone. They need to be caged - and if found guilty here, they need to be executed quickly (and painlessly). I imagine if we picked up all of their friends and acquaintances we would all sleep better at night. I know I would.

  • Poolboy150 Aug 3, 2007

    That figures.....before I read this story....I turned to a friend and I said I bet it was black guys......oh....what a surprise...and go ahead...call me a racist....what do I care?....everytime a white person kills a black person they call foul....I am NOT narrow minded...I am just honest.....the guy was working and trying to make it in this world and 5 losers figured they would see things differently....go ahead and hate me....I could not give one bit of concern about any negative BS thoughts....we need to start calling things like they are.....these are 5 losers that made choices and now it is time to face the music,