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3 Teens Sentenced To Prison In Morrisville Slaying

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RALEIGH, N.C. — Three teens pleaded guilty Tuesday to second-degree murder in connection with the shooting death of a Morrisville man almost two years ago.

Phillip Taing, 21, was killed during a home-invasion robbery at the Legends at Preston apartment complex on Dec. 2, 2004. An officer making his usual rounds detained four young men he spotted running out of one of the buildings in the complex at about the same time as the shooting was reported.

Investigators said robbery was the motive for the slaying, noting the teens took a small safe from Taing's apartment after shooting him in the chest.

Two of the teens, Jason Reese and David Edwards, both 18, apologized for their actions in court Tuesday before they were sentenced.

"I apologize from the depths of my heart," Edwards said.

Family and friends packed the courtroom in support of the teens and were overcome with emotion during the hearing.

"I can't imagine him wanting to hurt anybody," said Lucy Brown, a friend who spoke on behalf of 19-year-old Alex Brown. "Alex was a kind, shy person. I never heard an angry word."

But their actions on that December night, not any words before or since, led Superior Court Judge Donald Stephens to send them to prison.

"(They) left a young man dying on the floor, completely indifferent to what had occurred," Stephens said.

As part of plea agreements, Brown will serve 13 to 16 years in prison, while Reese and Edwards will each serve 10 to 12 years.

The man who shot Taing, 21-year-old Devon Carter, is serving a life sentence after being convicted of first-degree murder. Reese and Edwards testified against him in his trial.

Arthur Reese, 21, a fifth defendant in the case, is being evaluated at a mental health facility.

Taing's father said the prison sentences don't make up for the loss of his son.

"What can I do? My son is gone already. He had a good future, but somebody took away his life from me," Jimmy Taing said.

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