Juvenile tried as adult in Farmville murders

POSTED: 4:22 PM Aug 30 2012   UPDATED: 9:35 PM Aug 15 2012
PITT COUNTY -

A juvenile charged in the deaths of three convenience store clerks four and a half months ago will be tried as an adult, as his lawyer said Wednesday he will not file an appeal on an earlier ruling.

Raquan Blount, 14, has not had his name released before now because of his age; he is charged in the April 1 triple murder at the Hustle Mart in Farmville.

A Pitt County judge ruled earlier this month that Blount will be tried as an adult.

His defense attorney, Jeff Foster, said "we have reviewed Judge Galen Braddy's decision in finding probable cause [to charge my client as an adult], and we have decided not to appeal."

Foster said now that Blount is charged in open court he will likely have his court dates at the same time as the other suspects charged in this case.

However, Blount will remain in the Pitt Juvenile Detention Center until the trial begins or until he is 16.

Pitt County Sheriff Neil Elks explained why.

"The judge ordered from the bench that day that although he would be transferred to superior court that he will remain in the custody of the juvenile detention for his protection [because] he is so young. He would be safer in there," Sheriff Elks said.

Sheriff Elks said the next step is for the grand jury to indict the 14-year-old.

"With the abundance of evidence we have and the situation with the brutal crime that occurred I think it definitely warrants being tried as an adult," he said.

Prosecutors cannot seek the death penalty for Blount. Under North Carolina law, capital punishment can only be administered to offenders 18 or older.

The trial comes after the brutal murders of three workers inside the Hustle Mart in Farmville. Nabil Almoganahi, David Alawi, and Sam Almoganahi were shot and killed at the store, a crime captured entirely on the store's surveillance cameras.

Antwan Andre Anthony, Xavier Montel Shamble and Willie Whitehead were all arrested in the days following the murders. Investigators believe they were all directly involved in the murders; they also said that Blount was there and took part in the killings.

Deputies also arrested Zipporah Rochell Purvis at her home in Farmville; she has been charged with helping at least one of the suspects avoid arrest after the crime.

Blounts mother also is charged in this case; Valerie Denise Blount, 29, faces a charge of contributing to the delinquency of a minor.