A Mebane man was sentenced to 28 to 35 years in prison Tuesday for a 2021 murder in which a woman was used as a decoy to enable the shooting at the Camelot Village Condominiums in Chapel Hill.
Jermaine Malik Jahquan Chance, 23, pleaded guilty in Orange County Superior Court to second-degree murder, second-degree kidnapping, breaking and entering, and larceny in the death of Dearie William Bourne, 21.
He could have received a maximum sentence of life without parole, Superior Court Judge Allen Baddour said.
Chance's co-defendant in the case, Donavyn Lee Mayfield, 20, of Carrboro, remains in the Orange County jail. He has been held there without bond since being charged with first-degree murder in Bourne's death, in addition to kidnapping, breaking and entering and larceny.
Orange-Chatham District Attorney Jeff Nieman said Mayfield's trial is expected to start in June.
Bourne was fatally shot the afternoon of Feb. 19, 2021, in the doorway of his apartment, located across the street from University Place shopping center in Chapel Hill. He was shot twice in the back and had an exit wound to his cheek, Nieman said in Tuesday's hearing.
Bourne and a female friend were in the apartment with two other friends before the shooting, Nieman said. As the two other friends left and walked across the parking lot, a neighbor saw two men approach them and force one of them - a woman - back to Bourne's apartment, he said.
Video footage from the complex also showed the men forcing her to the apartment, he said.
The men, later identified as Chance and Mayfield, "essentially put her up to the door while they knocked, ostensibly so it would appear that it was a friendly person at the door and not assailants," Nieman said.
How the shooting happened
The woman who was inside the apartment with Bourne later told Chapel Hill police that he knew the men were there to kill them and warned her not to open the door, Nieman said.
There was a knock at the door, he said, and Bourne answered, armed with a Taurus 20-caliber pistol. The door was forced open, and Bourne was shot, Nieman said.
The neighbor, who called 911 around 2:36 p.m., told police that he ran to his bathroom as he heard the gunshots and a bullet hit his bedroom wall. Another bullet hit the wall beside the bathroom sink, Nieman said. The neighbor saw the men flee the scene, he said.
Police who were searching the area saw Chance in the mall parking lot. He ran toward Willow Drive with an officer in pursuit who yelled "show me your hands," Nieman said.
As Chance ran around the corner of the former PNC Bank at the corner of Willow Drive, he hid in the bushes outside the bank, Nieman said. A bank security guard pointed to him as the officer came around the corner, and Chance was arrested, he said.
Police found a "compact-size handgun" in the bushes, along with a loaded, 30-round magazine and Bourne's Taurus handgun.
Back at Bourne's apartment, other officers arrived to find his female friend "kneeling on the ground screaming uncontrollably," Nieman said. Officers attempted to revive Bourne, but he was unresponsive, Nieman said.
Police found Mayfield hiding in Bolin Creek, which runs along the Camelot Village property line. He had been sentenced less than two weeks earlier to 18 months of probation for a misdemeanor charge of carrying a concealed weapon, corrections records showed.
Shorter sentence requested
Thomas Maher, Chance's attorney, asked the judge Tuesday for a shorter, 23-year sentence in the murder, noting the "chaotic environment" in which Chance grew up.
Chance grew up poor, living for a while with his mother and siblings in a Durham hotel, Maher said. His mother had serious mental health and substance abuse issues, and also suffered from seizures that went untreated, because she lacked health insurance, he said.
"She actually instructed her children that when she had a seizure, just let her fall to the floor, and they were sometimes supposed to be responsible for her," Maher said.
Chance also suffered mental health issues from a young age, Maher said, and at one point, his parents had him committed to a hospital. His parents "didn't want him in the home anymore" and tried to convince the hospital not to discharge him, he said.
"And so he was a young man growing up in an incredibly unstable environment, ends up basically living on the streets and attracted to the culture in which this type of behavior occurs," Maher said.
Neither Chance's nor Bourne's families were in the courtroom at Tuesday's hearing. Nieman said the prosecutor's office had been in contact with Bourne's mother over the last two years.
Bourne, who would have been 24 next month, also had legal troubles and was released from prison just before his death, Nieman said.
"However, he was a young man with a full life in front of him and a family who loved him, and this was a particularly targeted and brutal murder," Nieman said. "I think it's frankly particularly chilling that Mr. Chance specifically used a friend as a sort of decoy to try to gain entry here, to shoot and kill this man."