Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Raleigh, NC: Neighbor says woman was afraid before killing

RALEIGH In recent days, Cheanelle Marie Mickens had taken to spending long hours at her neighbor's apartment whenever Mickens' boyfriend was at her home.

The neighbor, Doreen McShane, said Monday that Mickens intended to break up with the boyfriend, Jeremy Beane, who sometimes lived with her.

"She told me she was going to give him his walking papers. That was maybe Friday or Thursday," McShane said. "Last week, she told me she was scared and didn't want to be by herself."

Police found Mickens, 43, dead inside her second-floor apartment at 3253 Calumet Drive, near WakeMed in Raleigh about 1 p.m. Saturday. Investigators also found Beane, 33, inside the apartment suffering from injuries that appeared to be non-life threatening.

Beane, handcuffed to his bed at WakeMed with an officer stationed at his door, was charged Monday with first-degree murder in connection with Mickens' death.

Police think Beane killed Mickens and then dialed 911, according to an incident report made public Monday. Investigators declined to say how Mickens died.

McShane has a picture of a smiling Mickens on her living room wall. She and her daughter, Teresa Croom of Knightdale, described Mickens as an intensely private woman who worked part time, serving salads at the K&W Cafeteria in Cameron Village.

"She was a quiet woman," McShane said. "All of her stuff was on the down low. Nobody knew her business."

McShane and her daughter said Mickens loved children, often visited with her sick father on her days off to make sure he ate properly, and sometimes drove her sister to medical appointments.

McShane said she became close to Mickens over the past summer. Mickens visited her every day and started calling the older woman "Ma" or "Mommy."

"She used to tell me, 'Mommy, you the only one I can talk to,'" said McShane, who is retired.

Mickens' white Ford compact car was still parked outside her apartment Monday. A plate that reads "Lady C" has been affixed to the front bumper. The apartment was quiet. A "no smoking" emblem is plastered to the front door of the residence, and two faded door mats lay outside the front door.

The day before

McShane and Croom said that Mickens had spent Friday with them at the downstairs apartment where McShane has lived for about a year. Mickens had arrived at the apartment about 9 a.m. Friday and did not leave until 2 p.m.

Saturday was Croom's birthday. She was having a party that day in Knightdale and wanted Mickens to come and celebrate with her.

"She wanted to come with us, but she wanted a designated driver," Croom said.

But another friend had called Mickens as well and had invited her to catch a train for Charlotte on Friday.

Now McShane and her daughter think that if Mickens had gone with them to Knightdale, she would still be alive.

"We should've took her with us," McShane said. "But she didn't want to come."

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