CHARLOTTE, NC (WBTV) - It's not often a teenager has collected more mugshots than the number of years they've been alive. That's the case for 18-year-old Ricco McHam. The teen was recently charged with murder in connection to the shooting death of Markas Vereen.
Vereen and one other person were shot July 4 on Wheatley Avenue. The victims reportedly drove themselves to Novant Presbyterian Hospital, where they crashed their car into the emergency room, after being shot.
McHam is now behind bars in the Mecklenburg County Jail. He has been charged with murder and possession of a firearm by a felon. This is not his first run-in with the law.
"Ricco's been arrested 23 times in 3 years," said Marcus Philemon, Executive Director of the Char Meck Court Watch, a local organization that tracks repeat offenders who are going through the judicial system.
Arrest records show McHam has faced charges for assault, communicating threats, and selling drugs among other things. He's served time before, but always ends up back on the streets.
"We see these youthful offenders. They start out with minor crimes. They're never held accountable," claimed Philemon.
Philemon said he has tracked McHam since the suspect was 16-years-old. He said he has watched as the suspect has frequently received low bond amounts in court. It wasn't a total shock for Philemon to hear the teen was back behind bars on a murder charge.
"As community members, we're concerned about our safety. We're concerned this individual's actions," explained Philemon.
The Char Meck Court Watch leader said McHam should have already been behind bars before he had the opportunity to commit another crime.
"The ball was dropped many, many times along they way where he could have been held accountable and wasn't," claimed Philemon.
Officials with the district attorney's office told WBTV that the North Carolina State BAR's rules of professional conduct prohibit prosecutors from discussing the details of a pending case.