An 18-year-old once honored as an exemplary student and single father in a U.S. magazine article was gunned down over a drug debt, authorities said. The motive for Terrell Pough's murder last year had been unclear until Tuesday, when prosecutors at a preliminary hearing revealed an entirely different image of the celebrated teen: a drug dealer who was killed after failing to pay for 4.5 ounces of crack cocaine.
Pough had been profiled in People magazine last summer as an outstanding teenage father raising his baby daughter. He was shot once in the back of the head Nov. 17 as he returned home from working at a fast-food restaurant.
The man accused of pulling the trigger, Antoine Riggins, 20, said in a statement to police that he borrowed a gun from Raul Rosario, 18, after Pough went about two weeks without paying for the drugs.
Riggins said he had been given an ultimatum by his supplier: "You either get (Pough) or get his money or I get you."
"I told Terrell that the guy I got it from don't play no games," Riggins said in his statement, which was read aloud in court.
Pough's mother, Elizabeth, was removed from the hearing after screaming and cursing at Riggins and Rosario, both of whom were charged in the slaying.
"It's a lie. It's a lie," Elizabeth Pough said. "He was not involved in drugs."
But authorities seemed convinced of the motive.
"A lot of people don't sell drugs out in the open, and you're always going to be on your best behavior in front of your family, your church, your teachers," Assistant District Attorney Carmen Lineberger said after the hearing. "I'm sure this came as a surprise to a lot of people."
The magazine article in August brought Pough national attention and support that included donations for rent and a car to get to work. The Philadelphia 76ers honored Pough and his 2-year-old daughter, Diamond, at a game; the team later paid for a public memorial service for Pough.
More than 200 attended a service for Pough at Temple University , reports the AP.
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