Local News

Two charged in shooting death of store clerk

Posted August 31, 2008

— Sheriff's deputies arrested a man and were searching for a another suspect Sunday in the shooting death of a convenience store clerk this weekend.

Demarius Antoine Benson, 19, of Eastway Drive, has been arrested for the murder of Sadaq Ali Mohommed Ashmli, 31, of Henderson, during a robbery of the Williamsboro Grocery at a Shell gas station, 7690 N.C. Highway 39 North, on Friday night.

Sheriff Peter White said that Benson also shot at another person in the store. That person was not injured.

Deputies are searching for a second suspect, Saadi Williams, 20, of Henderson. He was described as a 20-year-old black man with a slender build.

Benson faces charges of first-degree murder, attempted first-degree murder and conspiracy to commit armed robbery. He was being held in the Vance County Jail without bond Sunday morning.

White could not say if Benson was the man taken in for questioning as a person of interest. Deputies detained that man when he drove up Williamsboro Grocery as White was talking to Ashmil's family members Saturday afternoon.

Investigators are also trying to identify and locate a woman shown in surveillance images shortly before the shooting. Authorities believe that she may be a witness.

Ashmli exchanged gunfire with at least one of the suspects during the robbery, White said. Ashmli was shot once.

“When you work at a convenience store, it’s really a chance of your life these days,” said Joe Davis, an employee at the Stop and Shop across the street from the Williamsboro Grocery.

Family and friends described Ashmli as a “true family man.” He was working at the family-owned store to support his wife and their 3-year-old and 1-year-old children.

Benson and Williams have both served time in prison for common-law robberies committed in Vance County, according to state Department of Correction records.

Benson was released on March 22, 2008, after serving 13 months for robberies in June 2005 and January 2006.

Between 2006 and 2007, Williams served 8 1/2 months in prison for a robbery in April 2006.

Anyone with about Williams' whereabouts or the shooting was asked to call Henderson-Vance Crime Stoppers at 252-492-1925 or the Vance County Sheriff’s Office at 252-738-2200.


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  • Tackman792000 Sep 2, 2008

    I am in favor of reinstating the death penalty. Instead of an electric chair, let's get an electric couch and start to spread the electricity around. Gotta go, gotta go!

  • beachboater Sep 2, 2008

    I guess so much for rehabilitation. Seems he just learned to get rid of the witnesses. I guess he's too dumb to realize he was on candid camera.

    Losers. Fry baby fry.

  • colliedave Sep 1, 2008

    If McCory is elected I hope he gets the death penalty back on track as Perdue is too beholden to liberal groups such as the ACLU to take such action.

  • Cricket at the lake Sep 1, 2008

    The death penalty is on hold in North Carolina, at least the legal death penalty. It is alive and well for all the criminials to commit. When is the state going to get back on track?

  • Tax Man Sep 1, 2008

    How come we have so many poster boys for the death penalty. These guys need to fry, and soon! We know they are bad, why can't the probation department keep tabs on these violent felons. I think we need an island for them - after they finish their sentence, ship them out to an island that only has these bad felons on it and let them sort out the details. No escape - they live off the land and each other. At least they are not in our society. Clearly these two need to be executed. Praying for the family of the deceased - the family of these kids needs to be locked up as well for failing to educate and train them.

  • makeitright Sep 1, 2008

    It's a shame that it will be 5 years from now that some defence lawyer looking to make a name for him/herself will be standing in front of a judge telling him/her about the terrible circumstances these criminals faced that led them to such a life. My vote is execute them next week and save everyone a lot of time, money and show this scum that a quick and just sentence will be served. Maybe, just maybe it will deter the next person from doing it if they think they will be dead in a week for commiting such a crime - not getting the attention they so desire and the three square meals with their buddies in Butner - having a great time at the taxpayers expense for years. This goes for rapists, child molesters, habitual drunk drivers, etc. Let's spend 10 billion a month fixing our problems here, not overseas where they don't want us to help them anyway...

  • OrdinaryCitizen Sep 1, 2008

    These criminals have nothing to live for

  • tmbboyd Sep 1, 2008

    I am floored by the spike in crime here in Vance County. I know the family and they are rvery espectful and honest people, there loved one did not deserve this, by no means. People just don't care these days, they have lost all morals and values. It is sad but we are in a world where I believe everyone needs a firearm in their home. I am a firm believer that the farther we dift away from GOD, the more problems we are going to have. We need to demand that the justice system have a complete over haul. We need these people off the streets. If we start enforcing the law and demand justice, then something has to be done.

  • ifcdirector Sep 1, 2008

    What is wrong with them? Who in the whole round world raised them to have this sort of psychopathic behavior? Let's lock them up too.

  • veritas_one Sep 1, 2008

    I'm woke up.,,,,death penalty. Some peoples mission in life is to rob, kill, and destroy.