A Wilmington judge Friday denied the release of a 15-year-old boy charged with first-degree murder in the death of a food delivery driver.
Chief District Court Judge J.H. Corpening ordered that Mustafaa Friend remain in custody until a probable cause hearing July 3.
Friend is charged as a juvenile with the June 14 shooting death of Zhen Bo Liu, a delivery driver for China King on South 17th Street.
Assistant District Attorney Jason Smith said during a hearing Friday morning in juvenile court that Friend was with Marvin White, 18; Rasheed Thompson, 16; Manije Johnson-Martin, 16; and Cornell Dewayne Haugabook Jr., 20, when the group concocted a plan to rob a delivery driver.
After placing an order with China King, Smith said, Friend and Haugabook, each armed with a handgun, confronted the 60-year-old man at 13th and Queen streets.
Smith said Friend shot Liu in the foot and then Haugabook shot him in the face, killing him. The two returned to a nearby house and shared the food with the others.
After eating, the group, “came back to view the body and go through the car,” said Smith.
Police say all that was missing when Liu’s body was found later that night was the order of chicken wings and shrimp fried rice and $48 in cash.
Friend is charged with first-degree murder, conspiracy to commit robbery, larceny, conspiracy to commit breaking and entering, and armed robbery.
Corpening informed the young, shackled Friend that under North Carolina law because he is under 18, he is not eligible for the death penalty, but instead “you face imprisonment for a term of your natural life” without the possibility of parole.
According to the New Hanover County District Attorney’s Office, the DA’s office will review the case to determine if they want it moved to adult court.
Their motive, according to a top police official, was free Chinese food.
A father, Liu moved from Shanghai several months ago and worked part-time at China King, said Ting Ngai Cheng, Liu’s friend and the restaurant’s owner.