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Suspects enter pleas in Apex teen's slaying

Ryan Patrick Hare has pleaded not guilty, while Allegra Rose Dahlquist has pleaded guilty to murder charges in the 2008 slaying of Matthew Silliman, an Apex High School student. Two other people are charged in Silliman's death.

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RALEIGH, N.C. — Suspects in the 2008 slaying of an Apex High School student on Friday entered pleas of guilt and innocence to murder charges.

Ryan Patrick Hare pleaded not guilty to charges of first-degree murder and conspiracy to commit murder in connection with the slaying of Matthew Josiah Silliman, 18, whose body was found on Dec. 2, 2008, in an unoccupied property in New Hill.

Allegra Rose Dahlquist, 19, though, accepted a deal from prosecutors and pleaded guilty to charges of second-degree murder, conspiracy to commit murder and attempted murder. She was initially charged with first-degree murder in Silliman's death.

Prosecutors said that a third suspect, Aadil Shahid Khan, is expected to accept the same plea agreement. A different plea deal has been offered to the fourth suspect, Drew Logan Shaw.

Dahlquist, Khan and Shaw are all expected to testify against Hare during his trial. Jury selection is set for Sept. 7. Dahlquist's sentencing was set for Sept. 24. She could get up to 80 years in prison.

Silliman, who had a diagnosis for depression and bipolar disorder, was reported missing and a Silver Alert for him was issued on Nov. 26, 2008. Arrest warrants said the homicide occurred four days later. Sheriff's deputies acting on a tip to Apex police found his body at 4221 Olive Branch Lane in New Hill.

"It's all immensely senseless and enormously sad," defense attorney Joe Cheshire said.

The suspects are believed to have been friends or acquaintances of Silliman, an Eagle Scout who did a landscaping project at his Cary church. Dahlquist and Khan were seniors at Apex High School at the time, while Shaw was a sophomore at Panther Creek High School. Hare withdrew from Panther Creek High School in February 2008.

Prosecutors said Friday that Hare and Dahlquist were once in a romantic relationship and that Hare was jealous of Silliman's close friendship with her.

Cheshire, who represents Dahlquist, described Hare as the ringleader who manipulated his client.

"She was under a very strong psychological hold under Ryan Hare. He had her under his control," he said.

Prosecutors argued that the four suspects convinced Silliman that a guy named "Roger," a character who doesn't actually exist, was out to get him and lured him to hide out in the abandoned home, which county real estate records show belongs to Dahlquist's family.

"That, in fact, was not the plan," Jason Waller, assistant Wake County district attorney, said. "The plan was to end Mr. Silliman's life."

Prosecutors said that the four suspects read Silliman's fortune to him off tarot cards, and he drank wine mixed with horse tranquilizer.

His hands and feet were then bound with plastic ties, and Hare hit him in the head with a hammer, but Silliman was still alive, prosecutors said. Duct tape was placed over his mouth, and a plastic bag over his head. Prosecutors said that Hare was the one who tightened a ziptie around the plastic bag.

Autopsy and toxicology reports state that Silliman died from asphyxiation and was likely sedated beforehand by lethal amounts of alcohol and an ingredient of drug commonly prescribed as an anti-depressant in his system.

The autopsy report states that Silliman's body was found zipped into a sleeping bag.

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Renee Chou, Reporter
John Cox, Photographer
Anne Johnson, Web Editor

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