Wake County District Court Judge Ned Mangum told 16-year-old Taquan Shmar Jeffries that he could spend the rest of his life in prison if convicted of raping another student at Athens Drive High School.
Minutes later, Jeffries’ father, Chris Jeffries, walked into the courtroom Monday afternoon with a text message, purportedly from the alleged victim, that said she was not raped.
Jeffries said the Instagram text message was sent to Taquan Jeffries’s 14-year-old brother Monday just after 10:30 a.m. The text indicated that the act was consensual and that the girl, also 16, made up the story to avoid getting into trouble.
“Look I’m sorry,” the message read. “He didn’t rape me.”
Never miss a local story.
Taquan Jeffries, of Brent Road, was arrested Sunday and charged with one felony count each of second-degree forcible rape and first-degree forcible sex offense. A second Athens Drive student, Ajeema Bullock, 18, of Spice Ridge Lane, was charged with one felony count each of aiding and abetting first-degree sex offense and common law obstruction of justice, according to arrest records.
Police also charged Jeffries with misdemeanor possession of marijuana, arrest warrants show.
Investigators accused Bullock of acting as a lookout for Jeffries while he committed the sexual assault. Detectives say Bullock obstructed justice by “lying, numerous times,” while insisting that he was not involved in the crime, according to the arrest warrants.
A person who called 911 to report the attack told a dispatcher that Bullock tried to stop it, according to a recording made public by Raleigh police. The 911 call was placed from WakeMed in Cary, where the caller said the 16-year-old girl had been assaulted in a stairwell at school during fourth period and was now being examined in the emergency room.
“She was encountered by two boys that she knows to be a ‘Blitz’ and an ‘A.J.,’ ” the unidentified caller said. “ ‘Blitz’ being the one that assaulted her, but ‘A.J’ saw the progression where the boy was sticking his hand in her pants and all that and she was trying to get away from him. But he didn’t stay. He kept telling the boy to ‘C’mon, c’mon, let’s go, stop’, you know. And he didn’t listen.”
Bullock’s attorney, Elizabeth Graham of Raleigh, said he had first denied involvement in the incident but had been very cooperative with police “once his mother told him to do the right thing.” Graham asked Mangum to lower Bullock’s bond, noting that he does not have a prior criminal record, is a senior at Athens Drive and was scheduled to make his first college visit this weekend. More than a dozen of Bullock’s family members leaned forward and listened intently while Graham told the judge that “this is a very important time in his life.”
Bullock was arrested Saturday and jailed in lieu of a $750,000 bail. Mangum lowered it to $200,000 and ordered that Bullock be placed under electronic house arrest as a condition of his release. He could spend 120 days in jail if convicted of the charges against him.
The two suspects and the alleged victim are all students at the school, said Wake County public schools spokesman Matt Dees. He declined to comment further.
“All I can say is that the school is cooperating with police,” Dees said.
Chris Jeffries says the boy’s mother showed the text message from the alleged victim to Raleigh police at 1 p.m. When he arrived at the courtroom Monday, he said he expected police to be there and his son set free.
“They said they would be here at two o’clock to dismiss the charges, but they are not here,” Chris Jeffries said after his son’s court appearance. A police spokeswoman said she had no additional information about the case.
A week before he was accused of rape, Jeffries was sentenced by a Wake County district court judge to two years probation and credit for 21 days in jail after he pleaded guilty to felony breaking and entering and felony larceny, according to records at the clerk of courts office.