Details emerge as request for lower bond denied in fatal Kauffman shooting
Before he was shot during a burglary at his Chenault Road home in the western part of the county, Marcus Kauffman’s last words were to tell a 911 dispatcher someone was shooting at him.
Kauffman, 25, interrupted the Dec. 2 break-in around the time he and his wife, Maryann, were returning home from a family brunch. He had an uneasy feeling about the situation and drove his pregnant wife to a nearby neighbor’s house. He was shot in the back of the head while inside his car, which ran off the road and ended up in a corn field.
He was flown to the hospital, where he remained until he died on Dec. 20.
Details of the break-in and shooting were revealed during a hearing for two of the men involved in the shooting — Tramel Devon Hart, 18, and Michael Dwayne Teasley, 25.
Both were requesting a lower bond. They were charged with accessory after the fact of first-degree murder. Hart and Teasley remain the Rowan County jail, each under $1 million bond after Superior Court Judge Julia Lynn Gullett denied the reduction Friday morning.
After Kauffman’s death, investigators upgraded the charges against Khari Dewayne McClelland, 23, of Harmony, and Jaylend Daquann Turner, 19, of Statesville. They now both face first-degree murder charges and remain in the Rowan County Detention Center without bond.
Assistant District Attorney Barrett Poppler told the court when Kauffman arrived at his Chenault Road home, Turner was leaving with the Kauffmans’ property. Kauffman, from inside his car, asked why the men were taking his belongings.
Kauffman called 911 to tell them his house was being broken into and officials said the call ended abruptly.
“The last thing you hear Marcus Kauffman say is ‘they’re shooting,’ ” Poppler said.
He said Kauffman never got out of his car and was driving away when he was shot at by McClelland. Poppler said McClelland fired five shots, one of which struck Kauffman in the back of the head. Kauffman’s car went off the shoulder of the road and traveled about 100 yards and struck a tree.
The assistant district attorney said the .45-caliber handgun that fired the fatal shot was stolen from Kauffman’s home.
Authorities say Turner and McClelland took a laptop computer, the handgun, a desktop computer and an Xbox game console.
Poppler said the vehicle the men were in was not broken down, but rather it was positioned to appear as if the two were having car trouble.
Charlotte attorney Marshall Swann, who made a limited appearance on behalf of Teasley, asked the judge to set the bond closer to $20,000 to $25,000. He said his client was the provider for his two young children and had he not been charged, he would’ve likely been placed on full-time status at his job.
But Poppler said Teasley was not helpful to law enforcement and had been lying to them about where he obtained the laptop. Authorities traced Kauffman’s laptop to Teasley’s house via the computer’s GPS tracking device.
The assistant district attorney said Teasley told investigators he got the laptop from a white male and then said someone named Jeremy introduced him to another man who sold him the laptop.
Teasley finally told law enforcement McClelland offered to sell him the laptop and that it had already “been wiped clean.”
According to Teasley’s statement to officers, McClelland told him he’d “done a lick and the laptop was stolen,” Poppler said.
Poppler said Hart drove around to sell the property after his brother, McClelland, asked him to find people who would buy the items.
McClelland told investigators he never informed Teasley of the shooting and said the shooting was accidental.
The gun changed hands twice, but it has since been recovered, Poppler said.
Landis attorney Rick Locklear, who was appointed to represent Hart, also asked for a bond closer to $20,000 to $25,000.
He said that falls within the guidelines for such an offense as accessory after the fact.
He said his client is anxious to get out of jail. When he first met his brother after the shooting happened, Hart claims he was unaware his brother might have been involved in the robbery and shooting. McClelland asked Hart to pick him up, which he’d done many times before.
Locklear said Hart only realized the seriousness of his charges during his first court appearance.
He said guidelines for bond are $15,000 to $125,000 not the $1 million Hart is held under.
Some members of Kauffman’s family — including his parents, David and Linda, and sisters — were in the courtroom, as were church members. Kauffman’s wife, Maryann, did not attend. The family declined to comment.
Members of Michael Teasley’s family, including his mother and sister, were also in court. They declined to comment.
Contact reporter Shavonne Potts at 704-797-4253.