The Lincoln County Sheriffâ€™s Office can close the file on a nearly two-year-old murder case after a judge recently sentenced two Hickory men to at least two decades in prison for the second-degree charges.
The sentences came as part of a plea deal reached Dec. 1, 2011, in the April 2010 shooting death of 24-year-old Maiden resident Zachary David Young in a drug deal gone bad.
Tyrone Fitzgerald Brice, 29, of 3020 87X 12th Ave. SE, and Byron Jeffery Bost, Jr., 25, of 2016 Landing Ave., both pled guilty to three separate charges including second-degree murder, robbery with a dangerous weapon and conspiracy to commit robbery with a dangerous weapon, according to Asst. District Attorney Mike Miller.
After charges were consolidated, the two were each sentenced to 238 to 295 months for murder and 97 to 126 months for the robbery charge. The plea deal also lessened the degree of their murder charges. Miller said he worked to get the offenders the highest penalty possible.
â€œIt had the most I could get them in the presumptive range,â€ he said of the sentences.
A neighbor discovered Youngâ€™s body near the intersection of Summerow Road and Null Road in the northern part of Lincoln County.
The following month, Lenoir Police apprehended Brice while Statesville Police found Bost hiding in an attic in a nearby residence, according to previous Times-News reports.
Two other suspects who were charged in the incident have also received prison sentences for conspiracy to commit robbery with a dangerous weapon, authorities said.
Andree Dontae Nixon, 27, of 1109 Catawba St. in Lincolnton, who also pled guilty in December, will serve at least a decade in a state correctional facility, also for possession of a firearm by a felon and robbery with a dangerous weapon.
Of the four men, Alamar Teracious Edwards, 19, of 5023 Maidenwood Circle in Maiden, will see the least amount of prison time. Edwards, who was initially arrested during a traffic stop in July 2010, was sentenced to between 23 and 37 months, authorities said.
Miller, who took over the case following former Asst. District Attorney Gwynn Radekerâ€™s retirement last spring, noted that Youngâ€™s girlfriend had dropped him off near the intersection where he was killed.
Young had planned to meet with Nixon to buy marijuana, authorities said, but later realized that he couldnâ€™t cover the cost of the illegal substance. Soon after, the individuals became involved in a heated discussion, prompting Young to flee the scene. Brice and Bost proceeded to gun him down during his escape, authorities said.
Autopsy reports revealed that Young had been shot with a .44-caliber gun and another much smaller caliber gun, which ironically, was the shot that hit a central artery, leading to Youngâ€™s death, Miller said.
The following day, neighbors reported to Sheriffâ€™s detectives that they had heard gunshots the previous night and spotted an abandoned SUV near Null Road. Youngâ€™s body was found a half-mile from the vehicle, which authorities later discovered had been stolen from a location in Hickory.
Young had a history of drug-related charges including a suspended sentence of drug possession in the county in 2008 and a misdemeanor conviction for maintaining a place for a controlled substance in Catawba County in 2004, according to the North Carolina Department of Correction website.
Miller said Young was an â€œoverall good kidâ€ who just got caught up in the wrong crowd.
Lincolnton resident Antonio Lafayette Foster was initially questioned as a person of interest in the case, but according to Sheriffâ€™s Lt. Tim Johnson, head of criminal investigations, Foster was never charged and has no connection to the murder.
The State Bureau of Investigation aided the Lincoln County Sheriffâ€™s Office in the investigation.