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Orange County officials: 17-year-old suspect in Buckhorn area double homicides of teens to be tried as an adult

Orange County officials identified and announced the name of the 17-year-old juvenile who has been charged with the murders of two other teenagers in September.  His trial on the double-homicide will be held in Orange County superior (i.e., adult) court, rather than juvenile court due to the seriousness of the charges.

Orange County sheriff Charles Blackwood and Orange County assistant district attorney Jeff Nieman announced Monday afternoon that the 17-year-old suspect in the murders of Devin Clark of Mebane and Lyric Woods of Efland will be tried as an adult.

The suspect, Issiah Mehki Ross, 17, black male, reportedly also had been a student at Eastern High School with Clark, according to multiple news reports.

The case was officially transferred to Orange County superior court Monday morning, Nieman said Monday afternoon at a press conference outside the Orange County district attorney’s office in Hillsborough.

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Nieman said that Ross had lived in Mebane at the time of the alleged crimes.

The bodies of the two teens were found fatally shot on Sunday, September 18, in the woods in western Orange County, off a power-line easement near Buckhorn Flea Market in Mebane, according to the Orange County sheriff’s department.

Clark, 18, black male, had been a student at Eastern High School; Woods, 14, white female, had been a freshman at Cedar Ridge High School in Hillsborough.

During Monday’s press conference, Blackwood recounted the timeline of the events leading to the discovery of the two teens in September.  He said that Lyric had left home sometime between late Friday night, September 16, and her family reported her missing Saturday morning.

Clark’s family reported him missing to the authorities in Alamance County at 11:43 a.m. Sunday, September 18, Blackwood recalled during the press conference Monday.

“Later that day, just before 3:00 p.m., we received word that two men found the bodies of a male and a female along a power-line access off Buckhorn Road,” the sheriff added.

Several people in the area later reported hearing gunshots in the area early that Saturday morning, Blackwood elaborated.  “That’s when we believe the murders occurred,” he said.

On September 20, a juvenile petition was secured for Ross for two counts of first-degree murder, Blackwood explained Monday, adding that he and his investigators had identified the suspect by “processing the crime scene and surrounding area to collect and analyze evidence, including forensic evidence.”

Investigators later learned that Ross had apparently fled the area during the evening of September 18, Blackwood said.  “We had reasonably good idea where he was going and notified law enforcement in Delaware, specifically the Delaware Violent Crime Safe Streets Task Force.”

On Wednesday, October 5 – 18 days after the victims’ bodies were discovered – members of the task force in Delaware apprehended Ross, Blackwood said Monday.

Ross was extradited to North Carolina several days later and entered a secure juvenile detention center in Alamance County, Blackwood added.

Ross was indicted on October 3 for two counts of first-degree murder in the deaths of Clark and Woods, according to a copy of the bill of indictment that is on file in Orange County superior court.

“Sheriff Blackwood and I share the community’s grief and outrage,” Nieman said Monday afternoon.  “This is a horrible loss to Devin and Lyric’s family and friends, and for the entire community.”


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