SHELBY, NC (WBTV) - Nineteen-year-old Aaron Byers appeared in court Monday to face charges of killing his 17-year-old girlfriend during a botched robbery over the weekend.
Byers is being held without bond in a Cleveland County jail. His girlfriend, Hannah Bickley, died at the scene on Holder Drive around 2:30 a.m. Saturday.
Shelby Police investigators say Byers attempted to rob two people in the backseat of a car.
There was a struggle for the gun, and Bickley was shot.
"She's 17. She's my baby girl. It's a waste," said her father, Guy Bickley.
He said family members tried to break up the couple to no avail. Hannah was currently living with Byers and attending Cherryville High School. She worked after school to help pay for her car and gasoline.
Bickley said he knew about Byers' previous criminal record and constantly worried about his daughter's safety.
According to state prison records, Byers was convicted in 2013 of several burglaries and given probation. At the time, investigators with the Cleveland County Sheriff's Department said Byers was a gang member and part of a crime spree with several other suspects.
His mother says despite his past, her son was also a good kid.
"I apologize, it was a terrible accident. She was in the wrong place at the wrong time," said Byers' mother, Chrystal Cherry, after his court appearance Monday.
Cherry said the two young people loved each other very much and that she loved Hannah like her own child.
Byers is charged with murder, possession of a firearm and attempted armed robbery. He also has pending drug and assault charges.
According Shelby Police, Byers originally told them that an unidentified man shot Hannah Saturday. They now believe that was a lie.
Officers found the teen inside the vehicle with a gunshot wound. Police said they do not believe Bickley was the target of the robbery and the shot did not seem to be intended for her.
Bickley's former classmate Mikayla Humphries just wants to kfnow why. "It just seems like it was a bad dream, like I would wake up anytime," Humphries said.
Bickley's father describes the Cherryville High School senior as smart and hard working. She had plans to go to nursing school after graduation, which was only a few weeks away.
Visitation is planned for May 14, from 6 to 8 p.m. at Harris Funeral Home in Kings Mountain. The funeral will be held the following day at 2 p.m. at Bethlehem Baptist Church.