Friday, April 8, 2011

**Update** Death penalty sought in Chris Radok homicide case

Posted By on Fri, Apr 8, 2011 at 9:32 AM

Capital murder cases are rare in Mecklenburg County, yet the accused killer of Creative Loafing photographer Chris Radok will face the death penalty when he goes to trial.

Radok, 55,was Charlotte’s first homicide victim of 2011. According to a report from Charlotte Mecklenburg Police, officers responded to call to check on Radok around 1 p.m. “When officers arrived on scene, they entered the house and discovered a male victim unconscious and suffering from an apparent stab wound.  There were signs of a struggle inside the residence.  The victim was pronounced deceased at the scene.”

Police arrested and charged Antoine Dion Young, 29, with murder, armed robbery and larceny of vehicle.

On Thursday, Mecklenburg County District Attorney Beth Greene  told The Charlotte Observer juries in Mecklenburg County "are very reluctant to impose the death penalty," following a life sentence in the Gary Daniels murder case. Daniels was convicted in the shooting death of his girlfriend, Charney Watt, an Olympic High School cheerleader.

But Radok's friends, who update activity in the case against Young on a memorial Facebook page, are hopeful Young will be the exception to the rule.

"He needs us here to represent for him and follow this and make sure that justice is done as best we can for our friend," said Phoenix Stellanaris, Radok's friend.

Assistant district attorney Bill Stetzer, supervisor of the office's homicide team spoke briefly with Creative Loafing about Thursday's hearing.

"We announced in court that there were two aggravating factors present," he said. "And those aggravating factors dealt with the crime being especially heinous, atrocious and cruel and that the crime was committed during the course of another crime."

Legally, Stetzer could not discuss the details of a pending case, but he did say that when the death penalty is sought against a defendant, it's taken on a case by case basis.

"While all murders are horrific, not all murders are especially heinous, atrocious and cruel. What we evaluate are the circumstances of each individual murder," he said. "And, I can't talk about Mr. Young's case, but in making this decision, we do a thorough examination of every case individually on its own merits and not as it compares to other cases."

It could be two and half years before the trial starts, Stetzer said.

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