Police: Suspects in North Hills murder tried to burglarize home - WJBF-TV ABC 6 Augusta-Aiken News, Weather, Sports

Police: Suspects in North Hills murder tried to burglarize home

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Ronald Lee Anthony Jr., 23, Sarah Rene Redden, 18, and Travion Devonte Smith, 20, are charged in the death of Melissa Huggins-Jones. Ronald Lee Anthony Jr., 23, Sarah Rene Redden, 18, and Travion Devonte Smith, 20, are charged in the death of Melissa Huggins-Jones.
Melissa Huggins-Jones was found dead by her 8-year-old daughter in her North Hills apartment. Melissa Huggins-Jones was found dead by her 8-year-old daughter in her North Hills apartment.
RALEIGH, N.C. -

Investigators believe the suspects in the death of a North Hills woman were trying to rob her home when she was murdered.

Ronald Lee Anthony Jr., 23, Sarah Rene Redden, 18, and Travion Devonte Smith, 20, are charged with murder in the death of 30-year-old Melissa Huggins-Jones. They were arrested late Tuesday afternoon in Wake Forest by Raleigh Police.

Officials believe there is no connection between the three suspects and Huggins-Jones, although investigators say the suspects are believed to have made an "unforced entry" into Huggins-Jones' home. It is unclear if they were invited in, and if so, by whom.

Investigators say Huggins-Jones died from blunt force trauma but would not say if or what weapon was used in the murder.

Huggins-Jones' body was found early on the morning of May 14 by her 8-year-old daughter in her apartment at 441 Allister Drive in Raleigh.

Her daughter ran to a group of construction workers near the apartment complex to ask for help for her mother. One of the workers called police, but Huggins-Jones was already deceased at the time of the 911 call, according to the police.

The three suspects were denied bond Tuesday afternoon when they appeared before a judge.

Investigators say they have established a link between Huggins-Jones' death and property crimes in the immediate area; however charges have not been filed in the property crime cases.

Anthony was previously charged in 2008 with robbery with a dangerous weapon. He is one year into a two-year probation sentence on charges of identity theft, providing false information to a law enforcement officer, driving with a revoked license and speeding.

Anthony last checked in with his probation officer on May 16, two days after the death of Huggins-Jones.

Smith is on parole for a 2012 conviction on charges of simple assault and receiving stolen goods. He was released from prison in January.

On Feb. 28, the parole commission put an electronic monitoring bracelet on Smith for probation violation. A warrant for Smith's arrest was issued April 16 after he was classified as an absconder for letting his electronic monitoring bracelet die.

Until his arrest Tuesday, authorities had no contact with Smith since April 16.

Raleigh Police spokesman Jim Sughrue said there have been five murders reported in Raleigh so far this year. Last year, there were seven by May 19 and there were 19 for the year.

Raleigh will average about 20 murders per year, he said.

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Jonathan Carlson

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