Victim’s family says change in Hustle Mart trial unfair and unneeded

GREENVILLE, N.C. (WNCT) — One of the suspects in the Hustle Mart murders says he wants new prosecutors for his trial. Antwan Anthony, who is charged with three counts of murder, claims the Pitt County District Attorney has a bias in the case.

The victim’s family says they’ve worked closely with the Pitt County Sheriff’s Office and District Attorney since the murder in April 2012. They hope the agencies stay on the case so they can move forward as scheduled

“It won’t be the same because those people lived with it,” says Ahmad Almaganahi, whose brother and nephew were killed in the robbery. “They have spent time with it. They have looked at all the evidence, they have dealt with it. They have seen the crime. They are more familiar than anybody else. Why would they want to take them out? .”

Almaganahi says he is frustrated that Anthony asked for a change in prosecution.

“They’re trying to work for their benefits but they’re not looking out for the family who got hurts benefits,” says Almaganahi. “It’s not benefits. It’s justice.”

Anthony’s attorney says Pitt County District Attorney Kimberly Robb is partial to the case because her family was threatened as a result of the arrests. Pitt County Sheriff Neil Elks was also threatened by the Hustle Mart suspects. He says this does not have anything to do with how business is handled.

“We get threatened quite often,” says Elks. “Any time we arrest a high-profile case or a violent offender, often times a threat will be made as you’re leaving the courtroom or the Magistrate’s Office. I get letters on a regular basis, people threatening my officers as well as me. We continue doing our job. It’s what we do.”

Capital punishment is on the table for Anthony.Almaganahi says he hopes the case goes to trial in September as scheduled so his family can try to find some peace.

“We could just move forward because this just keeps delaying,” Almaganahi says. “They’re talking about a motion. How about our emotions? How do we live with ourselves each day?”

A judge continued the motion until Friday, July 17. WNCT plans to be in the courtroom when a decision is made and will update you with more details as they become available.
PREVIOUS STORY

In the pretrial hearing of Antwan Anthony, one of the alleged Hustle Mart murder suspects the judge decided Friday to recess for one week. Anthony appeared in Pitt County Superior Court Friday.

The Friday court date was a pre-trial hearing ahead of his September 28th trial date. Anthony appeared in court with his lawyers, seeking to have the District Attorney’s Office recuse itself from his case.

The Pitt County Sheriff’s Office says on April 21st, 2012 Anthony, along with Xavier Shamble, Raekwon Blount, and Willie Whitehead robbed the Hustle Mart convenience tore in Farmville.

Three family members who worked at the store were shot and killed.

Anthony is accused of pulling the trigger in their deaths.

In November, 2012 Anthony was also accused of trying to stab a Pitt County Detention Officer with a pen, and was transferred to Central Prison in Raleigh.

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