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Adram Young
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Robert Thompson
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Briston Smith

A man accused of killing 19-year-old Charles Holsey during a drug deal gone wrong on Chattanooga's North Shore in March turned 18 years old Monday and was moved from juvenile lockup to the Hamilton County Jail.

Adram Young, 18, is charged with first-degree murder, especially aggravated burglary, criminal conspiracy and possession of a firearm during the commission of a felony.

Two other men, Robert Thompson and Briston Smith, both 18, were previously charged with felony murder in the case.

Holsey's father, Charles Holsey Jr., said his son loved to lift weights, travel, watch movies and play football. Holsey was a sophomore in college when he died and was in the process of transferring from Berry College in Georgia to the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga. He was studying chemistry.

"He wasn't some thug on the street," Holsey Jr. said about his son. "He was a very educated young man and very bright. He had no criminal record, he never got into trouble."

Holsey Jr. serves as the pastor at a church in Pulaski, Tenn., and his wife works as a physician in Chattanooga, he said.

A witness who was with Holsey the night he died told police that the three men tried to steal drugs from Holsey on March 2. The group met behind a gas station at 310 Sylvan St.

The witness said Holsey expected to meet someone he knew from Berry College to sell the drugs. She said he'd sold to that person before.

But when he arrived at the gas station, Smith, Thompson and Young got into the car instead and tried to steal the drugs.

Holsey fought with Smith. During the fight, Smith told another man to "shoot him," and then the witness heard two gunshots, according to the affidavit.

Holsey drove away, but crashed his vehicle a few minutes later at 700 N. Market St. He was taken to Erlanger hospital where he died, shot once in the back.

Holsey Jr. said his son "wouldn't harm a bug in the house," and added that he and his wife are starting a scholarship fund in his son's name for students who major in chemistry.

"Of course teenagers do things they shouldn't," he said. "But [the suspect] had no reason to be shooting someone for some marijuana, OK? From what I understand, it was $160 worth of marijuana. It doesn't make any sense."

Young is scheduled to appear in court on April 30. His bond was set at $520,000.

Contact staff writer Shelly Bradbury at 423-757-6525 or sbradbury@timesfreepress.com.

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