(CATAWBA COUNTY, N.C.) — Two 16-year-old girls arrested in connection with the murder of a North Carolina taxi driver could face life in prison if convicted.
Emily Starnes and Consandra Tyree were arrested on Saturday afternoon and were being held Monday without bond at the Catawba County Jail.
Both teens were charged with felony counts of murder, robbery with firearms and conspiracy to commit robbery in relation to the stabbing death of taxi driver Adam Williams.
“In North Carolina, for criminal court purposes, when you’re 16, you’re treated as an adult,” Hickory Police Department Capt. Thurman Whisnant said. “The possibility exists of life in prison, but it’s still early to tell.”
The cab company received a call to send a driver to the parking lot of a restaurant in Hickory, N.C., in August 2011. When Williams arrived, he was stabbed and then the suspects fled the scene, according to police.
Police believe that robbery was the motivation, but Whisnant told ABC News that Williams had “less than $50” on him when he was attacked.
Three days after Williams was killed, Camyron Johnson, 22, Matthew Hopkins, 22, and Robert McElwee, 18, were arrested and charged with his death.
Starnes and Tyree were arrested and interrogated, but then released.
“We knew these two young ladies were involved from the get-go, but wanted to do a complete, thorough investigation,” Whisnant said. “It was clear that they had involvement before, during and after the crime.”
Whisnant would not specify what part the teenage girls played in the crime, since the matter is still under investigation.
A relative of Starnes’ said she could not comment on the situation, and Tyree’s relatives could not be reached for comment.
The teenagers are scheduled to appear in court on May 14.
Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio
Eric Levenson, CNN
Miranda Green, CNN
Ray Sanchez, Zayn Nabbi, Euan McKirdy and Angela Dewan, CNN