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Marcus Kauffman dies; two charged with murder

A suspect accused in the shooting death of a western Rowan County man during a burglary apologized as his charges were upgraded to first-degree murder.

Khari Dewayne McClelland, 23, was initially charged with attempted murder after Marcus Kauffman was shot in the head when he interrupted a burglary, authorities said.

Kauffman had been in intensive care at Carolinas Medical Center since the Dec. 2 shooting. His family decided to remove him from life support Friday morning after getting the results of a test to determine if there was any brain activity, according to a Facebook post.

McClelland remains in the Rowan County Detention Center without bond.

“I’m sorry. That’s all I have to say,” he said Friday.

Another man, Jaylend Daquann Turner, 19, is also being charged with first-degree murder.

The two were taken from the jail Friday afternoon and escorted to the Rowan County Magistrate’s Office to face the new charges.

Turner said nothing as he was flanked by two sheriff’s detectives and returned to the jail. He was also issued no bond.

Kauffman, 25, who went by the nickname Marco, was shot in the back of the head after he interrupted a break-in at his Chenault Road home near Cleveland.

The family has been keeping the community updated on his condition on the Facebook page “Praying for Marco.” Around 11 Friday morning, this was the updated post:

“Yesterday God came and flooded us with peace. Even hope.

“This morning the test results came back. We are choosing to bless God and let go of our dear Marco, for it seems God is calling him to Himself. Words fail, but through our pain and tears, we bless God. We worship Him. While we certainly would not have written the story this way, we know God is the Master Author, and He makes no mistakes. And in light of eternity, we know this parting will be only a moment in time. Soon we will all be gathered around the throne of God, together forever more, worshipping our perfect and holy Lord. With Marco.

“We need your prayers now more than ever. For God’s supporting hand to carry us through this valley of the shadow of death. For wisdom and grace. For continued forgiveness and peace. For the ability to rest in God’s perfection.”

The post continued: “Marcus burst into heaven at 12:52 p.m. Our loss is so painful, but we know this was gain for Marcus. Tears and grief are eased by the gentle hand of God, holding us, carrying us, wiping our tears.

“As for God, His way is perfect.”

Kauffman was expecting his first child with wife Maryann. He was a volunteer firefighter with the Scotch Irish Fire Department in Woodleaf.

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Marcus and Maryann returned home on the morning of Dec. 2 and found a blue car near their house with the hood up.

Kauffman took his wife to a neighbor’s home before returning and asking the men at the car if they needed help. He soon realized, however, they had broken into his home. He called 911 and was driving away when one of the men shot him in the back of the head.

His car was found at the back of a nearby corn field, where he’d struck a tree.

McClelland, 23, of Harmony, also faces breaking and entering a building, larceny of a firearm and felony larceny charges. Turner, 19, of Statesville, had also been charged with larceny of a firearm, breaking and entering a building and felony larceny.

Capt. John Sifford of the Rowan County Sheriff’s Office said when investigators learned Kauffman had died, they obtained warrants charging McClelland and Turner with first-degree murder. McClelland and Turner will have a first court appearance on Monday.

Charges against Tramel Devon Hart, 18, of Harmony, and Michael Dwayne Teasley, 25, of Statesville, have also been upgraded to accessory after the fact of first-degree murder and remain jailed under bonds of $500,000 apiece. Hart turned himself in to authorities a week ago and was indicted the same week.

Investigators say McClelland, who is Hart’s brother, was with Turner at Kauffman’s home the morning of the break-in. The two forced their way into the home and took items including a handgun and laptop, authorities said.

The laptop was tracked to a Statesville home where investigators spoke with Teasley, who told them he bought the laptop from a man for $200, court papers said.

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The community has shown support to the Kauffman family through prayers and financial support with donations to local fundraising efforts. The Subway in Cleveland donated a portion of its sales, the Cleveland Police and Fire departments have also collected money for the family.

Salisbury Believer’s Fellowship Youth Group is hosting a chicken barbecue benefit for the family at Troyer’s Country Market on Jan. 4. The proceeds will help meet the needs of the Kauffmans. The store is located at 4077 Statesville Blvd. Plates cost $8 and include chicken, baked beans, coleslaw, homemade rolls and a choice of drink. There will also be fresh apple and cherry fried pies available for purchase during the fundraiser. To reserve a plate, call 704-637-0733.

The Scotch Irish Fire Department, where Kauffman was a member, will host a port-a-pit barbecue chicken fundraiser Jan. 17 and 18 from 11 a.m.-8 p.m. at the station, 3220 Needmore Road, Woodleaf. The plates are $8 and will contain half a chicken, baked beans, slaw, bread and dessert.

There will also be a blood drive through the Community Blood Center of the Carolinas, at the station during the fundraiser both days in honor of Kauffman. Plates can be eaten at the station or picked up.

Anyone interested is asked to order ahead by leaving their name, number and how many orders they’d like at 704-431-2559.

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