by: Alexa Ashwell Updated:SHELBY, N.C. —
A Cleveland County judge denied bond Monday morning for a 19-year-old accused of murdering his 17-year-old girlfriend.
Shelby police arrested Aaron Byers Saturday night in connection with the death of his girlfriend, Hannah Bickley.
Byers has been charged with murder, possession of a firearm by felon and attempted armed robbery.
Officers said Byers tried to rob two men Saturday when he got into a fight with one of the men over the gun, and then shot and killed Bickley.
Police said they do not believe Byers intended to shoot Bickley, after interviewing two witnesses who are believed to have been the victims in the attempted robbery.
According to the Shelby police report, Byers claimed he was the victim of a robbery when Bickley was shot.
On Monday morning, a Cleveland County judge reminded Byers that he could receive life in prison without parole if convicted.
Cherryville police arrested both Bickley and Byers last July on a number of charges, including possession of marijuana and resisting a police officer.
Channel 9 learned that after that arrest, the court ordered Bickley not to have any contact with Byers.
Byers’ mother spoke with Channel 9 after court and apologized to the Bickley family, calling the shooting a terrible accident. She said Sunday would have been the couple's one-year anniversary.
“They were in love. If you see one, you seen the other. They were always together. They loved each other a whole lot,” said Crystal Cherry.
“They had each other’s name tattooed on them and they were always kissing and hugging on each other every time I saw them,” said a neighbor who did not want to be identified.
Bickley’s uncle, Brian Bickley, said Hannah was a good kid who got involved with the wrong person.
“We did everything we could to try to get some separation between those two,” her uncle said.
Hannah’s family said they did not want her with Byers because of his violent criminal past.
The Cleveland County Sheriff’s Office connected him as part of a group that committed 14 break-ins between October 2012 and March 2013. Officers also said at that time that all five suspects were affiliates with the Bloods Gang, targeting mostly electronics, jewelry and firearms.
Byers was charged with six counts of breaking and entering, seven counts of felony larceny and seven counts of possession of stolen property.
Byers was also due in court later this month for assault charges. He is also facing marijuana charges.
Bickley was a senior at Cherryville High School and slated to graduate in the next several weeks.
"She had dreams of becoming a nurse," said Brian Bickley. "She loved helping people."
Hannah’s family hopes this tragedy is a lesson to other parents and teenagers.
“I know where she is at. She is with the Lord and I know I’ll get to see her again,” Brian Bickley said.
The police are continuing their investigation into Bickley’s death.
Byers probable cause hearing was set for June 3
If you have any information pertaining to this crime, please contact Crime Stoppers at 704-481-8477.