Trial begins in Apex teen murder

Ryan Patrick Hare appears in a Wake County courtroom September 7, 2010
September 12, 2010 9:00:00 PM PDT
The trial of a Wake County teen accused of killing a former friend began on Monday.

Ryan Patrick Hare, 19 is charged with first-degree murder in the death of 18-year-old Apex High student Matthew Silliman in December, 2008.

In opening statements Monday, prosecutor Melanie Shekita told jurors that Silliman was the victim of a 'sinister plot' masterminded by Hare. But Hare's defense attorney Robert Padovano said it wasn't a murder, but an assisted suicide that was masterminded by another friend.

"It's a case of assisted suicide and assisted suicide is not first-degree murder," said Padovano.

Police have implicated three other teens in the murder: Aadil Shaaid Kahn, 18, Allegra Rose Dahlquist, 19, and Drew Logan Shaw, 18.

Shaw was called to testify Monday.

He said Hare called on him to help kill Silliman in return for a previous favor, but he said at the time he didn't take it seriously. A couple of days later, he said Hare brought it up again and discussed it with a more serious tone.

In a later conversation, Shaw testified Hare asked him if he could get drugs that would "knock Matt out." He also detailed a plan where they would then suffocate Silliman with zip ties. Shaw said he suggested just getting Silliman extremely high on marijuana, and that would make him pass out. Shaw said Hare gave him "50 or 60 dollars" for the drugs.

Shaw said Hare, Kahn and Dahlquist brought Silliman over to his house and they smoked marijuana together in a shed out back, but Silliman didn't pass out and eventually left.

Shaw also testified that Hare later told him that Hare, Kahn and Dahlquist attempted to choke Silliman at a later date when they were riding together in a car, but the attempt failed.

Shaw said he didn't think the plot was real.

Shaw's testimony was expected to continue Tuesday.

Others cooperating

Kahn and Dahlquist previously entered guilty pleas to two counts of conspiracy, attempted murder, and second-degree murder in a plea agreement with prosecutors. They were to be sentenced after Hare's trial.

But in court Monday, the prosecution entered a motion to revoke Kahn's plea agreement. In its motion, the prosecution said Kahn is no longer cooperating - citing a "lack of memory on events defendant had previously been able to recall, and inconsistent statements."

A hearing on the prosecution's motion has not yet been held.

History

Sheriff's investigators found Silliman's body on the bathroom floor of an empty mobile home near New Hill in southwestern Wake County on December 3, 2008.

According to the medical examiner, the Eagle Scout was drugged and suffocated.

The prosecution's motion to withdraw Kahn's plea filed Monday has new information about the case not previously made public. It says Kahn, Hare, Dahlquist, and Shaw convinced Matthew Silliman to go and stay in the empty mobile home where his body was eventually found. Previous published reports have said they told him a hit man was after him and he would be safer, but the motion also says the four told him they would stage his murder and help him leave the state.

The motion also says the four plotted his murder and even pre-dug a grave for his body. A statement from a detective says Hare hit Silliman in the head with a hammer, and then the group "convinced Matt that he should die."

Silliman drank alcohol and took horse tranquilizers before Hare put duct tape over his mouth and put a plastic bag over his head.

Possible motive

Prosecutors allege Hare planned Silliman's death because he was upset after learning of a relationship between Silliman and Dahlquist.

Mother testifies

In court Monday, Silliman's mother Betty also testified. She said she and her husband adopted Mathew from Shreveport, Louisiana when he was 10.

She also said that before his disappearance, Mathew's behavior changed after a return from a summer camp in 2008.

"He had dreams of suicide," said Betty Silliman "And he had talked to his counselor at school about it. And his behavior changed also. He started dressing differently. He started drinking, smoking."

Silliman said she and her husband sought help for Mathew, and he was diagnosed with bipolar disorder, and was on medication.

Betty Silliman said on September 30, 2008, she got a call from Aadil Kahn who said Mathew was attempting suicide with an overdose of medication in the bonus room of their home. Mathew's father had to wrestle him to the ground while 911 was called and he was taken to WakeMed. He was taken from WakeMed to a psychiatric hospital.

But after he got home, Silliman said Mathew seemed improved and posted positive things on Facebook. She told the jury she didn't believe Mathew wanted to die.

Betty Silliman also confirmed that Mathew and Allegra Dahlquist were romantically involved.

She also recounted an incident before Mathew went missing where he told her he believed a hit man named "Roger" was after him. He did not tell her why he believed that or where he heard it.

Dahlquist and Khan were classmates at Apex High School with Silliman at the time of his death while Shaw was a sophomore at Panther Creek High School. School officials have said Hare withdrew from Panther Creek earlier in 2008.

All of the defendants, except Hare, were under 18 at the time of the alleged murder.

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