State builds on murder case in Apex teen's slaying
Posted September 16, 2010 10:06 a.m. EDT
Updated September 17, 2010 9:28 a.m. EDT
Raleigh, N.C. — Wake County prosecutors on Thursday continued piecing together the events leading up to the slaying of an Apex High School student two years ago and building their case against the alleged mastermind behind two plots to kill the teen.
Matthew Silliman was found Dec. 2, 2008, in an abandoned trailer in New Hill. The 18-year-old's hands and feet had been bound with zip ties, his mouth duct-taped and his head covered in a plastic bag.
Ryan Hare is being tried for first-degree murder in Silliman’s death. Three others – Allegra Dahlquist, Aadil Khan and Drew Shaw – also are charged in the case.
Prosecutors maintain that Hare influenced his alleged co-conspirators and Silliman into believing that a fictional character named Roger was out to get Silliman.
A first attempt to kill Silliman on Nov. 25, 2008, witnesses testified this week, was explained to Silliman as a way to fake his death.
Silliman's girlfriend, Michelle Lippert, recalled in court Thursday her last conversation with him in a Target parking lot. He told her he had to leave town because someone was out to kill him.
"He said that Roger was out to get him, so they made a video to fake his death to give to Roger," Lippert said. "He had like a red scratch around his neck."
The story made no sense, Lippert said, but she trusted the group of friends.
"I was just trying to understand what was going on," she continued. "He just seemed like he didn't know what was going on either. … He told me he loved me, and he got out of the car."
Silliman was found dead a week later. An autopsy found he had been asphyxiated and that he had had lethal amounts of prescription drugs and alcohol in his system when he suffocated.
Jealousy was the motive for the crime, the state says. Hare was upset about a relationship Silliman had with Dahlquist, who had been dating Hare at the time. The two often fought about Silliman, Dahlquist testified this week.
Hare’s ex-girlfriend, Sarah Rayner, testified that she ended the relationship because Hare was clingy. He was even more so in his relationship with Dahlquist, Rayner said.
Months after they had broken up, Hare called Rayner to tell her that Roger was back in town and that he knew the two knew each other. She should watch out, Rayner recalled Hare telling her.
“I thought it was very strange, and it kind of was just out of the blue,” she said.
While dating, Raynar said, Hare had occasionally talked about Roger – a man a few years older than him who could easily become a seemingly different person by changing his hair and clothes.
The two had a business relationship, Rayner said, in which Hare would construct bombs called “happy boxes” that Roger would then sell.
It didn’t seem believable, she said.
“I wanted to (believe him) when I was dating him, but it became very clear to me afterward that it wasn’t a possibility anymore,” Rayner said. “It just seemed too farfetched for me to believe that this person – who is a few years older than (Hare) – supposedly has all these connections, is constantly changing his appearances and is in all these dirty dealings with him and is somehow a threat to me.”
Prosecutors say Hare used the story of Roger to manipulate his co-conspirators, as well as Silliman.
Witnesses testified this week that Hare told them Roger was out to get Silliman and had given Hare an ultimatum to either kill Silliman or be killed.
Amber Howell also testified Thursday that she overheard several cell phone calls in which Hare yelled at Shaw for insisting that he didn’t want to have anything to do “what they were planning.”
"Drew told me that Ryan had planned to – I think his exact words were 'Ryan wants me to come by Apex so we can take care of this kid that he's got a thing against,” Howell said.
Thinking that Hare was just wanting to fight, she told Shaw to tell him to "man up and do it himself."
"I had no idea that Mr. Hare intended to kill Mr. Silliman," she said. "I thought it was usual high school drama."
Shaw's friend, Oleg Drozdowski, also testified to a conversation he heard between Shaw and Hare in which Hare talked about how they were going to kill somebody.
"I thought it was a joke. Everybody has a bad day with somebody," Drozdowski said. "He said ‘Matt,’ but I didn't know it was Matt Silliman exactly at that moment."
Victoria Adamcyzk, Shaw's girlfriend at the time of the crime, also recalled Thursday that Hare showed up unexpectedly at Shaw's home the night of Silliman's death.
When Shaw refused to go, she testified, Hare "just seemed really angry."
"There was something in his eyes that was giving off that he was really (expletive) off and that he wanted Drew to go," Adamcyzk said. "He said, 'No, you're going.'"