Three others sentenced in Apex teen's 2008 slaying
Posted November 15, 2010 11:37 a.m. EST
Updated November 16, 2010 5:14 a.m. EST
Raleigh, N.C. — Three teenagers originally charged with first-degree murder in the death of Apex teenager Matthew Silliman were sentenced Monday on reduced charges, closing a nearly 2-year-old murder case that prosecutors likened to a strange fiction movie.
Superior Court Judge Paul Ridgeway handed down a 196- to 245-month prison term for Aadil Khan for second-degree murder in connection with Silliman’s death on Nov. 30, 2008.
The judge also handed down a consecutive 196- to 245-month sentence for conspiracy to commit murder and attempted murder in connection with a failed attempt to kill the 18-year-old five days earlier.
The sentence is the maximum Khan, 19, could receive under state law.
Allegra Rose Dahlquist, 19, received two consecutive 180- to 225-month prison terms for the same charges.
Drew Logan Shaw, 18, entered an Alford plea Monday to accessory after the fact to first-degree murder. He was sentenced to 45 to 63 months in prison.
In an Alford plea, a defendant pleads guilty, while maintaining his or her innocence, and admits it is in his or her best interest to take the plea deal because there is sufficient evidence that could find him or her guilty.
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.
Ryan Patrick Hare, 19, was found guilty Sept. 24 of first-degree murder, conspiracy to commit murder and attempted first-degree murder and sentenced to life in prison.
Prosecutors argued that Hare was jealous of Silliman’s friendship with Dahlquist – Hare’s girlfriend – and concocted a “sinister plot” involving a fictional hit man.
Shaw and Dahlquist testified during Hare’s trial that the four ultimately lured Silliman to hide out for several days in an abandoned trailer in New Hill. Eventually, they left Silliman in the bathroom, bound with zip ties and his mouth duct taped, choking on his vomit with a plastic bag tight around his head.
Investigators found his body Dec. 2, 2008, after Shaw told his grandmother what happened.
Dahlquist and Khan pleaded guilty earlier this year in exchange for their testimony against Hare. Dahlquist and Shaw both testified. Kahn did not because he said he was unable to remember the details of the murder.
“You’ve heard the case,” Wake County Assistant District Attorney Jason Waller told Ridgeway during Khan’s hearing Monday morning. “Khan was an active participant in Matt’s murder. Hare was the mastermind, but the fact is that Mr. Khan was the henchman. He was Mr. Hare’s right-hand man.”
Dahlquist and Shaw also were to blame, prosecutors said, but their testimony and cooperation helped convict Hare.
“He made a lot of stupid decisions,” Waller said of Shaw. “But luckily, he did make the right decision of eventually telling someone who had some sense.”
Had it not been for Shaw, who did not participate in the killing, telling his grandmother several days after the killing, Waller said he wasn’t sure if Khan and Dahlquist would have cooperated with investigators or what might have happened to Silliman’s body.
Both Dahlquist and Shaw made tearful apologies to Silliman’s family in court.
“I’m so deeply sorry for everything I did to Matt and everything I failed to do for Matt,” Shaw said. “I'm very sorry for all of this, and I pray often, sometimes many times a day, that you will find closure and God's healing.”
Khan also apologized.
“He was a great friend to me. I could see he loved his family and friends, and they loved him too,” Khan said. “I looked up to him at times.”
“I wish he were here today,” he continued. “I wish he could give more fun memories, but I know it’s not going to happen because of what I did.”
Silliman’s father said during the hearing he has forgiven them for the crime, just as his son would have and just as God had.
“You were created in the image of God, who even today, longs for you to know His love and forgiveness and to walk with Him in a way that makes even a prison a cathedral,” Ben Silliman said. “Seek Him while He may be found.”
Following the sentencing, the Silliman family said they were doing well and just want closure.
The toughest part of the process for Ben Silliman was hearing how his son had been killed.
"He had been killed by people he had considered friends," he said.
Mary Silliman, 15, said it has been difficult reliving everything that happened to her brother.
"It was hard for me to hear any of the Medical Examiner's stuff. I had to leave," Silliman's mother, Betty Silliman, said.
Through the court hearings, the Sillimans have gotten to know the families of the defendants.
"The kids and their families regret this day ever occurred," Ben Silliman said.
After two long years, the Silliman family said they want to focus more on the times they had than what they lost.
"That is our satisfaction. That for 18 years God gave us that blessing," Ben Silliman said.