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Police: Teen couple plotted to rob, kill D.C. cab driver

- The Washington Times - Monday, November 12, 2012

As far as relationships go, theirs was a whirlwind. The pair of 17-year-olds, from opposite ends of suburban Maryland, began dating the first week of November and by the second week they were charged with murder.

Linda L. Bury and Joshua Terrell Mebane were desperate for money, having rented a room at a cheap Northeast D.C. motel together, so, authorities say, they schemed to rob a taxi driver to replenish their funds. Quadar Muhammad, 44, was the cab driver unlucky enough to have picked up the fare.

Emergency responders found Mr. Muhammad dead inside his burning Lincoln Town Car around 9 p.m. Wednesday. The next day a medical examiner ruled that he died from a gunshot wound to the back of the head. His cab had apparently caught fire as a result of crashing into a tree after he was shot.

Charging documents filed in D.C. Superior Court detail the events as told to Metropolitan Police Department detectives by Ms. Bury, who was taken into custody Friday. Ms. Bury, of Parkton, Md., apparently told at least two people that she and her boyfriend had robbed and killed a cab driver and those people contacted police.

Both teenagers were in court Saturday for an initial appearance and are now charged as adults with felony murder. Mr. Mebane's attorney, Gretchen Franklin, emphasized Monday that the car fire was not intentionally set.

"The car fire started because the car accelerated and ran into a tree," she said, declining to comment about any other aspects of the case.

Jason Downs, a D.C. public defender representing Ms. Bury, declined to comment. Their next court appearance is scheduled for Nov. 20.

Initially, Ms. Bury told MPD detectives that she and Mr. Mebane had been in a cab that got into an accident, the court papers say. She said the two of them fled the scene of the crash, behind Hamilton Junior High School on Brentwood Parkway in Northeast, and returned to their room at a Motel 6 just blocks away. Later, she admitted to the plan to rob and kill the driver.

"Somebody has got to get it," the court papers quote Mr. Mebane, of Waldorf, as saying of the money when the two teenagers realized they were running low.

So the couple walked to the nearby Greyhound bus station and hailed a cab, asking for a ride to Hamilton Junior High School — just a $6.50 fare as estimated by Mr. Muhammad. Mr. Mebane asked the driver "if he could break a fifty," according to court records. Mr. Muhammad, whose name is also spelled as Quader Muhammed in a police report and court records, said that he could and he began to navigate what would be the last fare of his life.

The two teens sat in the back of the cab, Mr. Mebane behind the driver, where he dug through a small sports bag in order to retrieve a black glove and a handgun, police said in an affidavit supporting the charges. Ms. Bury sat beside him but pulled her hood over her head so she wouldn't have to watch what came next.

Mr. Mebane told the driver to pull around to the rear of the school, then shot him, according to court papers. The cab accelerated and struck a tree. The two teenagers left, apparently without even taking the money they had sought in the first place.

Detectives recovered a handgun and hotel receipts from the area near the shooting from Mr. Mebane's home.

From a search of Ms. Bury's home they recovered a note from the pocket of a pair of jeans that she described wearing the day of the shooting, court records state.

"We should have took the dude's money," it read.

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