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Defense: Suspect in Apex teen's death wasn't uncooperative

The defense attorney for Aadil Khan asked a judge Tuesday not to revoke a plea deal that the state offered his client in exchange for his testimony in the Matthew Silliman murder case.

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RALEIGH, N.C. — The defense attorney for a man charged in the slaying of an Apex teenager nearly two years ago asked a judge Tuesday not to revoke a plea deal that the state offered his client in exchange for his testimony in the case.

Doug Kingsbery argued that Aadil Shahid Khan, 19, simply couldn't remember details about Nov. 30, 2008, when prosecutors say, Khan and three others were involved in a plot to kill 18-year-old Matthew Silliman.

Wake County Assistant District Attorney Jason Waller, however, argued that the plea deal should be withdrawn because Khan was uncooperative, gave inconsistent statements and claimed he couldn't remember events he had previously been able to recall in two interviews leading up to the murder trial of Ryan Hare earlier this month.

"There is no motive for this young man to knowingly, purposely not cooperate," Kingsbery said. "He would gain nothing reneging on this agreement he made with the state. Nothing."

Kingsbery said his client couldn't remember important details from two years ago because he had little or no time to review previous interviews.

"I would offer this: The same thing happened to the state's other witnesses in this case," Kingsbery said. "They repeatedly couldn't remember specific detail … and the state's professional witnesses fared no better."

But Waller told Superior Court Judge Paul Ridgeway that something changed with Khan. In prior interviews, he said, the defendant sat for hours and talked non-stop about details in the case.

A Sept. 10, 2010, interview, days before Hare went to trial, Waller said, was like pulling teeth.

"We're not asking people to make things up, but if he says, 'I believe this is what happened' and then provides an explanation, that would be fine," Waller said. "That's not what happened. Everything (he said) was 'I don't know,' 'I can't remember.'"

Khan's deal was like a contractual agreement with the state, Waller said, but it wasn't fulfilled.

"The state has not received the substantial benefit of the bargain. What did we get out of this? Absolutely nothing," Waller said. "We couldn't even call him as a witness in a first-degree murder case."

"That's the material breech, no benefit whatsoever," he continued. "That's why we're here. We couldn't call him. He was inconsistent."

Ridgeway delayed a decision on the matter but did not say when he might rule.

During Hare's trial, his defense attorney 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.

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Kelly Gardner, Web Editor

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