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Four arrested in Raleigh cabdriver's slaying

Raleigh police arrested four men who they say shot and killed cab driver Michael Howard Palmer during an attempted robbery Monday night. All four had gotten probation for felonies in Wake County since the past fall.

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RALEIGH, N.C. — Police charged four men overnight Friday in the shooting death of a cabdriver in the parking lot of a north Raleigh apartment complex.

Investigators said the men killed Michael Howard Palmer, 59, during an attempted robbery at Quail Ridge Apartments, at Falls of Neuse and Millbrook roads, Monday night.

Four men face second-degree murder charges: Eugene Dumas, 19, of 211 Shelden Drive; Xavia Monqual Barnes, 17, and  Alexander Hakeen Gonzales, 19, both of 3020 #9 Spanish Court; and Jayshon Najee Norment, 19, of 925 C Heathridge Court. They were processed at the Wake County Jail Saturday morning, and their first court appearance was scheduled for Monday.

Officers arrested Norment without incident on Heathridge Court Friday night, Raleigh police spokesman Jim Sughrue said.

Police arrested Dumas, Barnes and Gonzales on unrelated charges Thursday. While the men were in jail, Sughrue said, investigators processed information identifying them as murder suspects.

Barnes and Dumas were charged with second-degree burglary Thursday.

State Department of Correction records show that three suspects are on probation in Wake County: Gonzales, since November 2007 for conspiracy to commit armed robbery; and Dumas and Norment, since April for felony break-and-entering.

Gonzales is also listed as absconder, meaning his parole officer could not locate him.

Court records also show that Barnes had his probation revoked.  He was convicted of driving while impaired in March.

“It’s a sad story to hear that these are kids basically. They’re teenagers, 19, 17 years old,” said Henri Glover, Palmer's cousin.

Investigators credited the break in Palmer's death to public attention by the media, including interviews in which family members pleaded for help solving the slaying.

“We want the whole truth so if anyone else knows anything else, we want people to still come forward,” said Vonise Palmer, the daughter of the slain cabdriver.

Sughrue said that the investigation was continuing. Raleigh police have set up an anonymous tip line for the case at 919-227-6220.

On Friday, police asked for help identifying a woman who Palmer transported from the downtown Greyhound Bus station to the apartment complex shortly before 11 p.m.

Family members say Palmer spent his adult life driving cabs. Palmer had worked for AAA Cab for about two months.

“Driving a cab is dangerous business. You know, picking up people, strangers that you don't know. You never know how it's going to end up,” Glover said.

A memorial fund has been set up for Palmer's family. Donations and contributions can be made to The Michael Palmer Fund at any Wachovia Bank in North Carolina.


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