Local News

All 5 suspects in Durham kidnapping, shooting charged with murder

Posted August 28, 2015 12:32 p.m. EDT
Updated August 28, 2015 5:54 p.m. EDT

— All five suspects in a kidnapping and shooting that left one Durham teen dead and another wounded are now charged with first-degree murder, the Durham County Sheriff's Office said Friday.

Previously, two of the five suspects were charged with murder while the remaining three faced kidnapping and conspiracy charges.

Investigators said the suspects kidnapped 19-year-old Dymond Fowler and her best friend, 17-year-old Alexis Patterson, on Monday night. The girls were shot multiple times and left in a ditch by Glenn Road. Patterson survived by playing dead, but Fowler died.

Authorities have arrested:

  • Niajel Quashaun Slade, 23, of 2507 E. Main St. in Durham, charged with first-degree murder, kidnapping and assault with a deadly weapon with intent to kill.
  • Brittany Sharnell Lassiter, 22, of 5903 Ludgate Drive in Durham, charged with first-degree murder, kidnapping and felony conspiracy.
  • Jesus Arce, 24, address unavailable, charged with first-degree murder, first-degree kidnapping and felony conspiracy.
  • Dominique Faulkner, 19, address unavailable, charged with first-degree murder, two counts of felony conspiracy and felony probation violation.
  • Alezia Clay, 19, of 3507 Thornwood Drive, charged with first-degree murder, two counts of first-degree kidnapping and two counts of felony conspiracy.

All five are being held without bond while prosecutors determine whether they plan to seek the death penalty in the case.

In an exclusive jailhouse interview with WRAL News, Slade said Thursday he's innocent and being accused because of his alleged involvement in a different crime in 2013.

"I've been in court twice for that. My name is always being thrown out because of my past," Slade said. "I feel like when my name came up in this case the DA and police looked at the case and saw they didn't have anything. They were like, 'We're going to get him with everything we got right now.'"

A warrant for Slade's arrest was issued Tuesday, and he turned himself in Wednesday. He said he knows the victims but did not hurt them.

"I hope the person that did this will come forward,” Slade said. “I read stories all the time about people sitting in jail 30 years and they’re finally innocent. I don’t got 30 years. I’m innocent now. That’s the reason I turned myself in."

He also had a message for the victims' families.

"I truly am sorry about what happened, but I ain’t got nothing to do with this," Slade said.

Durham County Assistant District Attorney Jim Dornfried on Thursday confirmed that the kidnappers demanded ransom money between $15,000 and $20,000.

"Two young ladies were kidnapped from a hotel. There was a call in reference for a ransom, and then shortly thereafter, they were shot," he said.

Lassiter’s grandmother and Faulkner's older brother said that their relatives also aren't guilty of the crime.

“I don’t think she was there. I think Brittany is in a set-up,” Rachel Jones said. “Brittany would never engage in something like this. I know she’s innocent.”

"Everybody is just throwing names just to get people in trouble," Martin Faulkner said. "Why are you going to try to get somebody to do time for something they ain't got anything to do with? Justice should be served. It's not right. Each and every suspect they got in there is innocent. They don't have anything to do with what's going on."

Arce was in the courtroom Thursday to show his support for three of the suspects, and he was arrested as he left.