Judge sets $1 million bail for suspect in Chapel Hill killing

tgrubb@newsobserver.comOctober 30, 2012 

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Murder defendant Mario Dante Ramsey, 27, of Durham, NC enters Orange Superior Court Tuesday afternoon, Oct. 30, 2012 for a bond hearing. Ramsey is charged in the December 2011 slaying of 41 year old Drew Christopher Frasure of Chapel Hill, NC.

HARRY LYNCH — hlynch@newsobserver.com

— A judge set bail at $1 million Tuesday for a man accused of fatally shooting a Chapel Hill man last year in his Ashley Forest apartment.

Mario Ramsey, 27, of 2607 Lexington St., Apt. A2, Durham is charged with first-degree murder, robbery with a dangerous weapon and possession of a firearm by a felon. He has been held without bail in the Orange County Jail since his Dec. 16 arrest. His case will return Jan. 8 to Orange County Superior Court.

Prosecutors are not seeking the death penalty. If convicted of first-degree murder, Ramsey will face life in prison.

He is accused of killing Drew Christopher Frasure, 41, in his apartment on Dec. 11.

Defense attorney William Durham, of the Center for Death Penalty Litigation in Durham, asked Judge Elaine Bushfan for a maximum $100,000 bail. Ramsey and his family are not wealthy, he said. Ramsey depends largely on his mother, grandmother and siblings in Durham, and on his Social Security and disability checks for a mental disorder and chronic brain syndrome, Durham said.

Ramsey’s previous convictions include breaking and entering to a vehicle, possession of stolen goods and assault on a female, Durham said. He hasn’t been charged with a prior crime, violent or otherwise, in which he used a weapon, he said.

“He has an extremely low IQ, and he functions in some ways more like a child than an adult,” Durham said. “With that supervision of his family, it is safe to re-enter the community.”

Assistant District Attorney Lamar Proctor argued instead for at least a $2 million bail.

Frasure called Ramsey that day to ask about buying drugs, Proctor said. The evidence will show Ramsey was angry with Frasure about a prior dealing and went to the apartment with “ill will and malice” to extract revenge, he said.

Ramsey, who was on probation at the time, shouldn’t have had a gun at all, he said.

Two witnesses reported that Ramsey displayed a gun inside Frasure’s apartment and demanded money, Proctor said. At some point, Frasure grab the gun in an effort to defend himself and was shot in the neck, he said. The suspects fled, and Ramsey was arrested five days later, he said.

“If the defendant were given a bond he could make, I don’t think that there is a bond that would keep him from fleeing. He has his whole life at stake, not capitally but in terms of a lifetime of incarceration,” Proctor said.

Grubb: 919-932-8746

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