CHAPEL HILL - Investigator Rodney Matthews said by email he “cannot divulge any information regarding this case, as it is still an ongoing investigation,” but search warrants state a man fitting Mario Dante Ramsey’s description was seen near the apartment just before Crew Christopher Frasure was killed.
Search warrants show police followed a trail of cell phone records and witness testimony before charging a Durham man with December’s fatal shooting of a Chapel Hill man.
The weapon used to kill 41-year-old Drew Christopher Frasure, of 119-A Ashley Forest Drive, does not appear to have been found.
Mario Dante Ramsey, 26, of 2607 Lexington St., Apt. A2, Durham, is charged with first-degree murder in the Dec. 11 slaying. He has been held without bail in the Orange County Jail since his Dec. 16 arrest.
He is scheduled to make his first appearance in Orange County Superior Court on Monday.
Police filed a total of five warrants with Superior Court Judge Allen Baddour within 10 days of the shooting – two authorizing them to retrieve information from Frasure’s and Ramsey’s cell phones, and three others giving them permission to search three Durham residences.
Although a woman who called 911 at 12:16 a.m. Dec. 11 reported seeing three young white men enter the apartment and hearing a gunshot before the men fled the scene, police have not explained the discrepancy between her statements and the arrest of Ramsey, who is black.
Investigator Rodney Matthews said by email he “cannot divulge any information regarding this case, as it is still an ongoing investigation,” but search warrants state a man fitting Ramsey’s description was seen near the apartment just before Frasure was killed.
The warrants, which were ordered sealed for 60 days to protect the investigation, state that police found Frasure in the apartment, lying unconscious on the floor between the living room and kitchen. They also found three women at the scene trying to keep Frasure alive. He died of a single gunshot wound to the head.
According to warrants, investigators who checked Frasure’s cell phone found several calls to and from the same number shortly before he was killed. The last call he received was at 12:09 a.m. and pinged off a cellular tower near Ashley Forest, the warrants state. Investigators also found an entry for “Mario” with the same number in Frasure’s phone contact list, warrants state.
A search of phone number records found an address for Mario Ramsey that turned out to be invalid. However, further investigation uncovered a vandalism report Ramsey filed Nov. 21 with the Durham Police Department about a damaged living room window at his Lexington Street apartment. The contact number Ramsey listed on the report was the last number that dialed Frasure’s phone.
According to a warrant, Matthews and members of the Durham Police Department’s SERT Team searched the apartment Dec. 15, seizing a bill of sale for a 1997 Honda Accord, a copy of a birth certificate, and four cell phones.
During the search, a neighbor approached Matthews to say Ramsey’s cousin Natasha Meeks was on the phone and wanted to talk with him. Meeks told officers she lived at the apartment with Mario Ramsey, her sister Nikita Ramsey and another man, Garrison McDaniel. Meeks, who agreed to be interviewed in Chapel Hill, told police they shared a 1998 Saturn sedan owned by McDaniel’s father, warrants state.
According to the warrants, Meeks said her sister drove Ramsey and McDaniel to Frasure’s apartment in Chapel Hill the night he was killed. “After the commission of the crime, her sister also drove Mr. McDaniel and Mr. Ramsey away from the crime scene,” the warrants state.
McDaniel later admitted to investigators that Ramsey and another unidentified man were at Frasure’s apartment and “that Mario Ramsey shot the victim,” the warrants state
According to the warrants, witnesses told police Ramsey was dropped off after the shooting at a friend’s house on West Lakewood Avenue in Durham. Ramsey reportedly said “he was going inside to take a shower, as he had blood on him from the shooting,” the warrants state.
The witnesses also told police that Ramsey owned a black handgun, which he took everywhere he went, “and that he was always bragging about it and displaying [it] to his associates and friends,” the warrants state.
Matthews used the information to obtain an arrest warrant and called Meeks to ask if she knew where to find Ramsey, the warrants state. Meeks said Ramsey’s girlfriend told her he had been staying at her apartment at 711 N. Duke St., the warrants state.
Chapel Hill Investigator Preston Oppegard began surveillance of the apartment and, after about 10 minutes, saw Ramsey leave, the warrants state. Ramsey was arrested without incident.
Investigators searched Ramsey and the apartment but did not find the alleged handgun, the warrant states. They did seize Ramsey’s Huawei cell phone and obtained a warrant Dec. 19 to search its data files.
On Dec. 21, investigators also searched the home of Ramsey’s friend, Carlos Laytrel “Cat” Davis, at 1602 W. Lakewood Ave. and another apartment at 2607 Lexington St. The search warrants show officers seized a Samsung cell phone from the Lakewood Avenue home and a pair of blue NBN Gear pants, a black Haute T-shirt and a pair of black Air Jordan Nike shoes from the Lexington Street apartment.
Ramsey’s previous criminal record shows that from 2003 to 2005, he served nearly two years in the Durham County Jail for felony breaking and entering and larceny charges levied in Durham and Alamance counties. His most recent conviction was for misdemeanor possession of stolen goods in Durham County in 2006. Ramsey received community service and probation for that charge.