LUMBERTON, N.C. (AP) — A judge has denied bond for the man accused in the death of a North Carolina teenager.
News outlets report 34-year-old Michael Ray McLellan appeared in a Robeson County court Monday, days after he was arrested and charged with first-degree murder and other offenses in the death of 13-year-old Hania Noelia Aguilar. The judge appointed a public defender to represent him.
The public defender’s office declined comment Monday.
Police said Aguilar went outside on Nov. 5 to start a relative’s SUV to prepare to leave for the school bus stop when a man forced her into the vehicle and fled. Police found her body several weeks later.
District Attorney Johnson Britt said that because he’s leaving office later this month, the decision on whether it is a capital case rests with Matt Scott, who won November’s election.
Scott said he had not made a decision about the death penalty, but noted that McLellan’s case would qualify.
“This is a horrific set of facts,” Scott said.
Britt told a news conference that evidence gathered in the search for the teenager helped solve a 2016 rape, burglary and robbery case. McLellan is charged with first-degree rape and first-degree burglary in that case.
McLellan will be kept in custody in Raleigh between court appearances in Robeson County, Britt said.
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