Three men, one of them a high school athlete, were indicted Monday in Durham, N.C., on charges of kidnapping, robbing, and killing a Franklinton man and dumping his body into the Eno River two months ago.
Authorities identified the three as Matthew Lawrence Taylor, 16, a Northern Durham High School student and football player; Shelton Deangelo Epps, 21; and Derrick Arness Maiden Jr., 19.
Durham County prosecutor Freda Black said Taylor, Epps, and Maiden will be prosecuted for first-degree murder, for which the only possible penalties are death or life in prison without parole. Black said she probably will seek life sentences for all three.
Taylor, Epps, and Maiden are accused of luring Sean Ethan Owen, 23, to Durham through an Internet chat line and cell phone conversations. According to Black, Owen was led to believe that a marijuana transaction or gay liaison would take place, but the suspects actually intended to steal his car. Owen reportedly was shot twice in the head, beaten, strangled, and then thrown into the Eno River at Old Farm City Park.
Young soccer players found Owen's body in the Eno River on February 21. Epps said in a written statement to authorities that Taylor was the "ringleader" and the triggerman. However, Taylor and Maiden told officers that Epps was the shooter. No trial date has been set.