A 29-year-old Durham man will spend 30 to 37 years in prison for the murder of a Chapel Hill man 2-1/2 years ago.
Mario Dante Ramsey pleaded guilty to armed robbery and second-degree murder in the shooting death of Drew Christopher Frasure, 41, on Dec. 11, 2011.
Ramsey entered the plea in Orange County Superior Court on May 16.
The evidence showed he went to Frasure’s apartment on Ashley Forest Drive in Chapel Hill just after midnight to sell drugs to Frasure, said Orange County Senior Assistant District Attorney Lamar Proctor.
Cellphone records indicated the two had spoken to each other several times that night. Ramsey was with three other people, two men and a woman, and the three men went together to the apartment, Proctor said.
“The defendant had a grudge because the victim had underpaid him on a previous drug transaction,” he said.
Ramsey was carrying a .40-caliber handgun when he went into the apartment and demanded the money that was owed him, Proctor said.
Ramsey told Frasure to get on the ground, but Frasure tried to grab the gun and was shot in the throat during the struggle.
“It’s tragic that someone with a drug addiction ends up losing their life over a $50 drug debt,” Proctor said.
The three men ran from the apartment to a vehicle where the woman was waiting, and she drove them back to Durham, Proctor said.
Frasure’s neighbor heard the shot and went to help him and called 911. She said she saw three white men running away, and she was correct that three men ran away, but only one of the men was white, Proctor said.
Police rushed to the scene. They could not find the three men, but investigators used Frasure’s cellphone records to identify possible suspects. The other three people who were with Ramsey cooperated with investigators and have not been charged, Proctor said.
Ramsey had been hit by a bus in Durham when he was 19, and a defense attorney told Superior Court Judge Allen Baddour that he may have suffered some brain damage in that accident, Proctor said.