Teen Killed in Attempted Robbery; Two Suspects Jailed, One Sought
BY TED M. NATT JR.
The robbery was supposed to go off without a hitch, a lone owner closing his remote mattress business on a Friday night. One of the suspects was a former employee and knew owner Alexander Rowland.
The four would-be robbers wore ski masks. They entered All American Mattress and Furniture at 9734 Aberdeen Road, just over the Hoke County line, around 8:30 p.m. They carried brass knuckles and a rifle.
What happened next went quickly.
One of the suspects pointed a rifle at Rowland and demanded money, while another started to beat him with the brass knuckles.
“They scuffled over the weapon,” Hoke County Sheriff Hubert Peterkin said Tuesday. “The business owner felt his life was threatened.”
During the scuffle over the rifle, it fired, hitting one of the suspects at least twice. David Ryan Frame, 16, a junior at Flora MacDonald Academy in Red Springs and who lived in Raeford, later died at an area hospital.
After the shooting, the other three suspects ran to a waiting vehicle and fled.
“It didn’t take more than 15 seconds,” Peterkin said. “That’s how quick this was. It kind of shows you that we all have to be on our guard and be aware of our surroundings because things can happen so fast.”
The store is located on N.C. 211 about two miles east of the Moore-Hoke County line.
Two of the three remaining suspects have been arrested and are in the Hoke County Detention Center in Raeford on $1 million bond each.
The two arrested are Amie Lynette Ross, 27, of Raeford, and Lewis Vega, 21, of 308 Providence Way, in Aberdeen. They face charges of robbery with a dangerous weapon, felony breaking and entering, conspiracy to commit armed robbery, and aid and abet of an armed robbery. More charges could be pending.
A fourth suspect remains at large, Peterkin said.
“We’re looking for him,” he said. “We’ve got a name. It’s not confirmed, but we’re on the right track.”
Rowland, at his store Tuesday, said that Vega had worked at the mattress company three years ago, but he declined to talk about the attempted robbery because the final suspect had not been apprehended.
“I really can’t comment until the sheriff’s department wraps this up,” Rowland said.
According to a Facebook page, “RIP David Frame,” a statement about last Friday night from Frame’s family reads:
“David Frame was shot and killed Friday night. He was with two known adult criminals. The police are investigating the attempted robbery. We believe they need to add kidnapping to the charges. Our son has never been in trouble. Everyone who knows him will tell you he is the nicest, kindest, most polite kid. We are not naive parents who believed our son was perfect. He hated doing homework or cleaning his room. He spent too much time on his computer and he liked to irritate his sister but he wasn’t a criminal.
“He knew right from wrong and had a strong moral code. Those adult criminals coerced him. We don’t know how but we do know that he was threatened. He didn’t go of his own free will. He left several clues that he wasn’t going willingly. He was 16, they were adults with criminal records. He isn’t here to defend himself. Everyone who ever knew David knows that he wouldn’t commit armed robbery.
“The news people asked if he would give in to peer pressure. First of all the people with him were not his peers. Ross is 27 years old! I know all of you would have laughed at that question. One of his favorite T-shirts states, ‘Beware of youth culture influences.’
“David was very intelligent, a deep thinker who always had an opinion. He would talk your ear off about so many subjects. He taught us new things constantly. His wealth of knowledge was astounding. He loved playing on the computer, he loved soccer, photography, writing, and listening to music. He loved his friends and family. He was constantly texting or Skyping.
“His death is a tragedy. We want to make it clear that he was kidnapped, drugged, coerced, or all of the above. We pray the truth comes out but the only people who know the events are degenerate, low-life convicted criminals who should not have been released from prison.”
According to the N.C. Department of Corrections, Ross was convicted in March 2007 of robbery with a dangerous weapon. She served 41⁄2 years in prison and was released in September 2011. She also served time for larceny.
Vega was convicted last September of felony larceny and received an 18-month suspended sentence. He is currently on probation for that conviction, according to state DOC records.
Peterkin said the suspects “planned this robbery” and there was “no evidence that (Frame) was coerced.”
“That means they all sat down and talked about this,” he said. “These kids all hung together. They frequented each other’s homes. It’s not like they just met that day and went and did something that night.
“I’m just really sad for the parents. I’m sure (Frame) was a wonderful guy. It just looks like he made a bad decision. He knew all of them. There was a relationship there. It’s just mind-boggling.”
Peterkin said Rowland “really feels bad about this, especially when he found out how young the boy was. The business owner was minding his own business and closing up for the day. He didn’t like the fact that he had to shoot somebody, that he was put in this position.”
Peterkin said he felt bad “for both sides.”
“Nobody came out a winner in this situation at all. No one,” he said. “Any way you want to look at it, it’s sad. The suspects made a very, very bad decision, and it cost this young man his life. I just hate that it happened like it did.”
Contact Ted M. Natt Jr. at (910) 693-2474 or tnatt@the
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