16-year-old arrested in connection with delivery driver murder - WECT TV6-WECT.com:News, weather & sports Wilmington, NC

Sixth person arrested in connection with delivery driver murder

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Cornell Dwayne Haugabook Jr., 20, was charged with first-degree murder and armed robbery. Cornell Dwayne Haugabook Jr., 20, was charged with first-degree murder and armed robbery.
When the judge asked him if he understood the seriousness of the death penalty, Cornell Haugabook said yes. When the judge asked him if he understood the seriousness of the death penalty, Cornell Haugabook said yes.
Cornell Haugabook spent four years in jail for armed burglary and grand theft. He was released last February. Cornell Haugabook spent four years in jail for armed burglary and grand theft. He was released last February.
District Attorney Ben David said the case is a priority to his office. District Attorney Ben David said the case is a priority to his office.

WILMINGTON, NC (WECT) – Wilmington Police arrested a sixth person in connection with the murder of a delivery driver in the city last week.

Late Friday afternoon, police said Nathaniel Thomas Lawrence, 16, was charged with conspiracy to commit robbery.

Thursday, Chief Ralph Evangelous announced four men and a juvenile were arrested in connection to the death of Zhen Bo Liu, a Wilmington restaurant delivery man who died on June 14.

"He was brutally murdered for no reason what so ever," Evangelous said. "If you're going to be involved in this type of activity, we're going to hunt you down."

Cornell Dwayne Haugabook Jr., 20, and an unidentified 15-year-old were charged with first-degree murder and armed robbery. Marvin Lee White, 18, Manije Daneek Johnson, 16, and Rasheed Ramone Thompson, 16, were charged with conspiracy to commit robbery after over 600 hours of investigation.

Evangelous said the group ordered approximately $48 worth of food, shot Liu, took the food, went back to a house, and then they all sat down to eat together.

"If that's not cold-blooded, I've never seen it," the WPD chief said. "Seldom do we ever see the victim accosted in such a brutal way."

District Attorney Ben David said that the case is a priority to his office and that in the state of North Carolina, a 16-year-old is considered an adult. He said a hearing will be held soon to determine if the 15-year-old will be considered an adult.

"It's a reminder to everyone in this community that crime doesn't sleep and neither do the men and women of law enforcement when something like this happens," David said.

A committee of senior prosecutors will determine if the case is death-penalty eligible. David said a 15-year-old is not eligible for the death penalty in North Carolina.

During a hearing held for the juvenile on Friday, Assistant District Attorney Jason Smith said that they learned through interviewing the suspects that the 15-year-old shot Liu in the foot and Haugabook shot him in the face. They also learned that two different weapons were used.

When the two shooters left the scene, the others came back, went through Liu's vehicle and took the food, Smith said. Judge J.H. Corpening said that the 15-year-old can't face capital punishment, but that he can spend the rest of his life in prison. He will stay in secured custody until a probable cause hearing on July 3. 

Haugabook had his first court appearance at 11 a.m. on Friday. When the judge asked him if he understood the seriousness of the death penalty, Haugabook said yes. He was not given a bond and will make his next appearance on July 12.

Haugabook spent four years in jail for armed burglary and grand theft, according to the Florida Department of Corrections. He was released last February.  

On Haugabook's Facebook page, he shows off his many tattoos.

The occupation listed on his Facebook page also claims that he is the "Boss at Self Made," and his page includes pictures of men posing with guns and money.

Wilmington police have confirmed that they've looked at the Facebook pages, but wouldn't comment further.

Detectives notified the Chinese embassy of the murder, which is where Liu's family is located.

According to 911 calls, witnesses found Liu's Honda Liu in the middle of the road with the door open. The caller said that he was bleeding from the neck and it looked like he may have been stabbed.

Most people who live and work in the area knew Liu as China King's delivery driver. Several folks stopped by the restaurant the day after he died.

Patrick Piner used to work with Liu at another Chinese restaurant a few years ago. He said most people there called him Shi-Fu.

"He was just a hard worker you know. He did a lot of the stuff in the kitchen and everything else. He was very reliable," Piner said.

Following the police department's announcement and arrests, the manager of Liu's former place of employment China King spoke out. Ting Cheng said he feels "happy" and "relieved" to hear that arrests were made.

Cheng said he still doesn't understand why the suspects allegedly killed one of his closest friends and co-workers for no apparent reason. He said it has been a very emotional time for everyone at China King.

Cheng said he hopes that the police will continue to follow the case because, despite the arrests, he still feels like justice should be served.

Cheng also said that China King no longer delivers at all following Liu's death.

Anyone with information is asked to call the Wilmington Police Department at 910-343-3600.

Copyright 2012 WECT. All rights reserved.

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