SHELBY, N.C. – Murder suspect Aaron Byers appeared in Cleveland County Court Monday to answer to murder charges. He's accused in the shooting death of his girlfriend Hannah Bickley, 17.
As he stood in court wearing an orange Cleveland County jumpsuit, he stared at the back of the courtroom where his mother sat quietly wiping tears from her eyes.
"I can't believe this; yesterday (Mother's Day) was very hard," said Byers’ mother, who said the 19-year-old is the youngest of her six children.
Byers faces a murder charge and attempted robbery charges, as well as being a convicted felon in possession of a handgun. He was assigned a court-appointed lawyer.
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The charges stem from an incident Saturday morning when Byers called 911 telling them that his girlfriend was shot.
Police say that initially, Byers tried to convince them that he and his girlfriend were victims of a robbery attempt, but investigators said that Byers was the one attempting to rob someone and may have mistakenly shot his girlfriend.
Bickley died of a single gunshot wound.
"I'm so sad, I'm shaking," said Byers mother, "I feel terrible for Hannah's family; I loved her like she was my own."
Afterwards she called the incident a terrible mistake.
"If you saw one you would see the other. They loved each other; he would never hurt her."
Byers is being held without bond and has a probable cause hearing next month.
Byers has several convictions for felony breaking and entering, and faces two unrelated charges of assault on a female and drug possession.