Local News

Witness recalls night of Apex teen's death

Posted September 14, 2010 9:41 a.m. EDT
Updated September 14, 2010 6:07 p.m. EDT

— Testimony resumed Tuesday in the murder trial of a man accused of scheming an elaborate plot to kill an Apex teen nearly two years ago with a witness detailing to jurors what happened on the night in question and how he was involved in the crime.

Drew Shaw testified that he was "scared as hell" on Nov. 30, 2008, when prosecutors say Ryan Patrick Hare, Shaw and two others killed Matthew Silliman at an abandoned trailer in New Hill.

Silliman, 18, was found dead two days later. An autopsy found he had died of asphyxiation and that he had lethal amounts of prescription drugs and alcohol in his system when he suffocated.

Prosecutors say the four teens lured Silliman to the trailer, where Hare hit Silliman with a hammer in a failed attempt to knock him out.

Shaw, 18, testified Tuesday that his role was to wait outside the trailer with a baseball bat, in case Silliman tried to escape, while Hare, Hare's girlfriend, Allegra Dahlquist, and friend Aadil Khan were inside with Silliman.

But things went in a new direction when Silliman was seemingly unfazed by the hammer, Shaw said.

"The plan had changed, and they convinced him to kill himself. That's what they told me," Shaw said.

Shaw said he eventually went inside the trailer, where he saw Silliman in the kitchen mixing white powder and taking pills.

The group was laughing and talking about him being hit with the hammer, Shaw said.

Crying at times, Shaw said he did not want to Silliman to die and didn't want to be there but also admitted he didn't try to stop the plan from being carried out.

"For one, I'm kind of (expletive) scared," Shaw said of his thoughts at the time. "I don't know what anyone's thinking. I don't know how serious anyone is. I'm like, 'If I make any kind of move …’ I feel like they might have killed me or something."

Shaw left soon after, and Silliman was still alive, he said.

By the time police detained him for questioning two days later, Shaw – believing Silliman might be dead – had told his girlfriend and others that he had killed Silliman.

He testified he didn't want to snitch but hoped that his "bull crap" stories would prompt someone else to call police.

During opening statements Monday, Wake County Assistant District Attorney Melanie Shekita said jealousy was the motive for the crime and that Hare felt betrayed by Silliman because of a close relationship Silliman had formed with Dahlquist.

Hare, Shekita said, was the mastermind behind two plots – the first, a failed attempt five days earlier – to kill Silliman and that Silliman's past mental struggles were part of that plan.

Silliman, she said, was left to die, having had his hands and feet bound with zip ties and his mouth duct-taped while he choked on his vomit with a plastic bag tight around his head.

But Hare's defense attorney, Robert Padovano, said his client is not guilty of first-degree murder. The case, he said, is about assisted suicide.

Silliman wanted to die but didn't want his death to look like a suicide because he was concerned for his family and knew his life insurance policy wouldn't be valid.

Silliman's mother, Betty Silliman, testified that her son had struggled with depression and talked about killing himself in the past – even attempting it two months before his death – but that he had received treatment and seemed to be doing well.

"He was still active and going to school and busy with his friends – things like that," she said. "He wasn't, like, sitting in his room all the time. He was very busy."