State

15-year-old to be tried as adult in killing of Cumberlands student who answered ad on app

Zachary Finch, 21, was trying to buy a cellphone when he was shot June 18 in southwest Charlotte, N.C. The meeting to buy the phone was set up through an online application called Letgo. Police said Finch didn’t know the people he was meeting.
Zachary Finch, 21, was trying to buy a cellphone when he was shot June 18 in southwest Charlotte, N.C. The meeting to buy the phone was set up through an online application called Letgo. Police said Finch didn’t know the people he was meeting. jwester@charlotteobserver.com

A 15-year-old boy will be tried as an adult in connection with the fatal shooting of Zachary Finch, a University of the Cumberlands baseball player who was killed while responding to an ad on an online sales app similar to Craigslist.

A North Carolina judge ordered Monday that Jahzion Wilson’s case moved from juvenile court to Mecklenburg County Superior Court after finding probable cause to charge Wilson with first-degree murder, a Class A felony. Such a finding requires the case to be moved to adult court, according to North Carolina state law.

Wilson also is charged with robbery with a dangerous weapon.

His next court date has yet to be set. He is in custody at a juvenile detention center, the Mecklenburg County District Attorney’s Office said.

Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police also charged another 15-year-old in connection with the shooting, and 17-year-old Demonte McCain. McCain was charged with murder, attempted robbery with a dangerous weapon and conspiracy to commit robbery.

Finch was trying to buy a cellphone when he was shot June 18 in the 2300 block of Farmer Street in southwest Charlotte, police said. The meeting to sell the phone was set up through an online application called Letgo. Police said Finch didn’t know the people he was meeting.

Finch, 21, was on a full scholarship with the Cumberlands baseball program, his family said. He was studying public health, with one year to go before graduation, according to family members.

Police have declined to say what led them to the suspects, but Charlotte-Mecklenburg police Capt. Chris Dozier said Letgo helped police with information. “That helps tremendously when we have that type of cooperation,” he said.

As a result of the killing, police opened 14 “exchange zones” in November at QuikTrip convenience stores where people can more safely conduct online transactions.

The zones provide extra safety measures, including 24-hour video camera monitoring. Two parking spaces marked with red paint at each store identify where you should meet.

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