Police have charged a man with murder nearly six years to the day after a 20-year-old Charlotte man was gunned down as he tried to protect his girlfriend.
Tyrice Lavar Boyd, the man accused in the 2005 shooting that left Justin Dillon Ervin dead, is a felon with a lengthy criminal record.
Early the morning of Dec. 10, 2005, Ervin stopped at a convenience store on Glenwood Drive in northwest Charlotte. He left his then-17-year-old girlfriend in the car and went in for cigarettes.
While he was inside, three men approached the car, pulled open the teen's door and began attacking her, she told the Observer in 2005. The teen, who had asked not to be named, said the men were trying to pull down her underwear when Ervin came out of the store and saw what was happening.
Ervin tried to intervene, but one of the men shot him twice, his girlfriend said. Then the suspects got in the couple's car and sped off, only to crash the car a short distance away. They jumped from the wrecked car and ran.
"Justin was just trying to get them off of me," his girlfriend told the Observer six years ago. "He didn't have to shoot him. They had already pistol-whipped him. He wasn't trying to fight back."
Ervin died less than an hour later at Carolinas Medical Center, according to Charlotte-Mecklenburg police.
On Saturday, police announced they had charged Boyd, 32, with first-degree murder and armed robbery. Officers arrested Boyd on Friday. He is being held in Mecklenburg jail without bail.
Police did not say how they connected Boyd to the crime, and they are still searching for the other two suspects.
Boyd has an extensive criminal record in Mecklenburg County with convictions that include drug possession, breaking and entering, larceny and possession of a gun by a felon. Records show he was charged with robbery with a dangerous weapon in 2008, but the charges were later dismissed. In April, police charged him with two counts of first-degree rape. The disposition of that case wasn't immediately available.
Ervin, who grew up in Charlotte and attended West Mecklenburg High School, had been dating his girlfriend for 2-1/2 years. The couple planned to marry, she said at the time of his slaying. "He left this Earth an honorable man, protecting the one he loved," his obituary said. "Justin was an outgoing person, who never met a stranger."
Police said the case remains an active investigation. Anyone with information is asked to call Crime Stoppers at 704-334-1600.