Local News

State wants to withdraw plea in Apex teen's death

Posted September 27, 2010 1:06 p.m. EDT
Updated September 27, 2010 7:15 p.m. EDT

— Prosecutors returned to court Monday to ask a judge to revoke a plea deal of a man charged with murder in an Apex teenager's slaying nearly two years ago.

Aadil Shahid Khan, 19, is one of four people accused of plotting and carrying out the death of Matthew Silliman, who was found dead in the bathroom of an abandoned trailer on Dec. 2, 2008.

Khan, who was charged with first-degree murder, pleaded guilty last month to charges of second-degree murder, conspiracy to commit murder and attempted first-degree murder in exchange for his testimony in the trial of co-defendant Ryan Patrick Hare, 19.

Last week, a jury found Hare guilty of first-degree murder and other charges, and a judge sentenced him to life in prison for the crime.

Khan never testified during the trial.

Wake County prosecutors Jason Waller and Melanie Shekita claim in a Sept. 13 motion to withdraw the plea that, in advance of Hare's trial, Khan was uncooperative, gave inconsistent statements and claimed he couldn't remember events he had previously been able to recall.

"I spent seven hours and seven minutes with him and had so much information – I felt like I was there," Wake County Sheriff's detective Mariah Jarema testified Monday afternoon, recalling an initial interview she did with Khan that resulted in 30 pages of handwritten notes. "Now, we don't know even how Matt got into the bathroom."

Khan's defense attorney, Doug Kingsbery, cross-examined Jarema at length about the series of interviews, pointing out that his client was never showed copies of previous statements and that Khan could not remember specific details about the case because he did not know.

Specifically, Kingsbery questioned Jarema about the location of a Nov. 25, 2008, attempt on Silliman's life. Khan told investigators he wasn't really paying attention to where it was and that he didn't know for sure, Kingsbery said.

Wake sheriff's investigator Ed Bomgren also testified Monday afternoon. He interviewed Khan on Dec. 3, 2008, when he was arrested.

"(His demeanor was) more of everyday business. Things were normal," Bomgren said. "He was assistive and willing to give answers. He wanted to get his story on the record."

Fast forward to nearly two years later on Sept. 10, 2010, when, Bomgren said, Khan didn't remember pieces of his original story to investigators.

"His body language seemed a little more rigid," Bomgren testified. "He was not as forthcoming of his knowledge, as he had been previously."

The hearing will resume at 2:30 p.m. Tuesday.

During Hare's two-week trial, defense attorney Robert Padovano characterized Khan as a "master manipulator" who talked Hare into the plot to kill Silliman.

An autopsy found Silliman drank wine laced with narcotics, but that his death was the result of suffocation. His mouth had been covered with duct tape and his head covered with a plastic bag. Zip ties were fastened around his wrists, legs and neck.

Khan, witnesses testified, put the duct tape on Silliman's mouth.

Padovano told jurors in his closing argument Thursday that Hare went along with a plan to help Silliman in carrying out suicide. Padovano contended Silliman had reached a point where he no longer was “willing to battle his demons.”

Waller said Hare sought revenge and plotted Silliman’s death because he had kissed Hare’s girlfriend, Allegra Rose Dahlquist.

Dahlquist, 19, testified that she went along with the plan to kill Silliman because she wanted to win back Hare’s trust.

She pleaded guilty in August to second-degree murder, attempted first-degree murder and conspiracy to commit murder as part of a plea arrangement. She has not been sentenced.

Drew Logan Shaw, 18, was also charged with murder. He did not accept a plea arrangement that he was offered by prosecutors and has not yet faced trial.

Keith Acree, director of public affairs for the North Carolina Department of Correction, said Hare was admitted Friday at Polk Correctional Institution in Butner, the facility where all male felons, ages 19 to 25, are admitted into the state prison system.

Hare will likely remain there for four to six weeks before being transferred to another prison, Acree said.