Holding colorful "Team Dannie" and "Justice for Dannie" signs in front of the Cumberland County Courthouse, the move came before a regularly scheduled hearing for the two teens charged in 15-year-old Danielle Locklear's murder.
"We want murder one. We want murder one," said Locklear's aunt, Chena Papa. "We feel like this was pre-meditated and we'll see in trial."
The group, including Locklear's mother, Rowna Fowler, came to present the District Attorney's office with a petition to pursue first-degree murder charges in the case against 17-year-old Je'Michael Malloy and 18-year-old Dominic Lock. Both teens currently face second-degree murder charges.
The petition had nearly 6,000 printed signatures from supporters across the country. It also requested a higher bond for Malloy who is currently being held under $100,000 in the Cumberland County jail. Lock posted the same bond several weeks ago.
"There's one that's already out now. We don't want a chance for Je'Michael to be able to get out," said Papa.
Following the hearing, in which both teens were represented by their attorneys, the D.A's office announced Malloy's bond has increased to $500,000.
Malloy admitted to authorities that he choked Locklear to death on the evening of March 11, before having Lock help him dump her body in the South River. The confession came a month after Locklear went missing.
After a full investigative report is complete, additional or alternate charges could be presented by the D.A.'s office to the Grand Jury. The process, including receiving the file and reviewing it, could take anywhere from six months to a year. The case could also be settled through a plea deal. Either way, Fowler vowed Tuesday to keep the pressure on to pursue the first-degree murder charges.
"Justice will be done," she said.
On Saturday, Locklear will be laid to rest. A public memorial service is planned at Fayetteville's Manna Church on Cliffdale Road.