Local News

Hit-and-run rampage killer weeps as wife pleads for mercy

Posted March 18, 2010

— The man convicted of running over five people, killing one, during a hit-and-run rampage across three counties six years ago wept Thursday as his wife asked jurors to spare his life.

The jury found Abdullah El-Amin Shareef, 31, of Raeford, guilty of 10 charges Wednesday, including one count of first-degree murder and two counts of attempted murder. Prosecutors are seeking the death penalty in the case, and the sentencing phase began Thursday.

Abdullah El-Amin Shareef Jurors to deliberate life, death next week

Talethia Shareef talked about the couple's three children, ages 10, 8 and 7, brought pictures of them to show the jury and read letters from them, causing Abdullah Shareef to break down.

"I hope you win. I want you to come home," one of the children wrote in a letter.

Authorities said Shareef stole a city-owned van in Fayetteville on April 14, 2004, hit and injured three men – Robert Fortier, David McCaskill and Gary Weller – in Fayetteville, then ran over Lonel Bass in Linden, killing him. Shareef abandoned the van, took Bass' pickup truck and continued north, authorities said, running down Seth Thompson in Harnett County before crashing the truck in Fuquay-Varina, where he was arrested.

Shareef pleaded not guilty by reason of insanity, and his attorneys argued that he suffered from untreated paranoid schizophrenia at the time of the crimes.

Psychologists who evaluated Shareef shortly after the incident testified during the three-week trial that he was psychotic.

But prosecutors argued that Shareef made "conscious decisions" during the incident, running down men who were by themselves and then fleeing to avoid arrest.

Talethia Shareef said her husband was "a good person" who befriended homeless people before his mental illness changed him.

"I just pray that you can have it in your heart to understand that he was not like this," she said, choking back tears. "This was not him, and I'm sorry."

Abdullah Shareef's sister, Elizabeth Shareef, also pleaded for mercy in the case.

"I ask you please to spare my brother's life and please don't sentence him to death," she said. "You are our last hope."

Bass' daughter also testified about the impact of her father's death on the family.

"Knowing he was down there at the fox pen by himself, trapped under that van, it's just been more than our family's been able to cope with," Angela Barefoot told jurors.

Prosecutors and defense attorneys will meet Friday with the judge to review instructions to the jury, and jurors will return Monday to hear closing arguments and decide whether to hand down a life or death sentence.


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  • james27613 Mar 19, 2010

    Now we know why they call it 'Criminal Justice'.

    If he was sick then his family could have taken steps to
    get him help and or sent to a facility.

  • lizard78 Mar 19, 2010

    Schizophrenia is very hard to deal with. My brother was diagnosed at 30 years of age. There is not much help available in N.C. where they keep cutting the mental health budgets. Look around at all of the homeless people on the streets. Can you guess why they’re talking to themselves?

  • discowhale Mar 19, 2010

    What part of PSYCHOTIC don't you people get?

    I don't think this guy should walk by any means. But needles, nooses and old sparky is over the top. I hope you never have to deal with a family member with a mental health issue. It affects everyone long before anything overt ever happens.

    The question I've not seen asked is, WHY was he not being treated at the time of the killings?

    The flip side of family pain over these issues, is families stepping up and making tough decisions. If Daddy or Aunt June are sliding into the abyss, sign the papers people, send them foe a 30 day vacation in a facility. If this man's family had done that, maybe this could have gone a different way completely.

  • Lead by Example Mar 18, 2010

    The worst crimes deserve the death penalty, I hope the jury sends him to death row. Death is the only way to prevent repeat offenders; a dead man cannot escape or be released from prison.

  • holmesap Mar 18, 2010

    I really feel sorry for all family's involved. This man has destroyed several family's including his own. I believe the death penalty should be given here. This man knew what he was doing. But with the way the judicial system is he does not have anything to worry about. Several years of appeal and the State of North Carolina is not going to put him to death. Some stupid judge will feel sorry and reduce his sentence.

  • delilahk2000 Mar 18, 2010


  • delilahk2000 Mar 18, 2010


  • uropinionmatters Mar 18, 2010

    Anna Marie
    I understand your point but sorry to say when you suffer from a a mental illness like Paranoid Schizophrenia you are not making the choices you would usually make. I beleive this man needs to be held accountable for his actions but he also needs help. The type of help he was not provided when his family requested it prior to the tragic incident.

  • roncorey1 Mar 18, 2010

    WTVD 11 News spent ALOT of the 5 o'clock broadcast showing this guys family weeping and pleading for his life, but showed about a half second of Lionel Bass who was one of his victims!!!

    I knew Lionel Bass. I worked with him at Swift Textiles in Erwin for three years. He was very helpful to me when I first started to work there back in '97. He was well liked by alot of folks. Just wish the media would spend ample time hearing from his family as well and the other victims also!!!

  • notagain1903 Mar 18, 2010

    "I just pray that you can have it in your heart to understand that he was not like this," she said, choking back tears. "This was not him, and I'm sorry."

    OH; BOO HOO!!!! Tell that to the people that he killed and mamed. Give him Life with Hard Labor!! No basketball all day and 3 meals with a cot to watch TV!!!