Law
4:51 pm
Thu July 24, 2014

Suspects In Mugging Death Of UNC Chapel Hill Professor Charged With Murder

Professor Fend Liu Photo
Feng Liu was a professor in the Eshelman School of Pharmacy at UNC
Credit UNC

Update 7/25/14 3:30 p.m.:

The Chapel Hill Police Department has charged the two suspects, Derick Davis II and Troy Arrington Jr., with First Degree Murder in the death of UNC Professor Feng Liu.  The two are being held in the Orange County Jail without bond.

Original story:

A pharmacy professor at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill died Thursday from injuries sustained during a mugging a day earlier. Feng Liu was a professor of molecular pharmaceutics, looking at ways to more effectively deliver cancer drugs to patients.

Police say Liu was beaten and robbed around 1pm on Wednesday on W. University Drive in Chapel Hill, just a block from campus.

"We had received a call maybe evening-time last night from the police that said he had been taken to the hospital," said Vice Dean of the UNC Eshelman School of Pharmacy, Russell Mumper. "We had at least preliminary indication that it was serious but not life threatening. We felt some relief that he was going to be OK. Our understanding is that he took a turn for the worse. Then, this morning, we were informed he had passed during the night."

Overnight, police arrested two suspects in connection with the attack. 21-year-old Derick Davis of Durham is being charged with  misdemeanor possession of stolen goods, felony common law robbery, and felony assault inflicting serious bodily injury. He's being held in the Orange County jail under a $100,000 bond.

27-year-old Troy Arrington Jr. of Chapel Hill is being held on similar charges under a $75,000 bond. Police say more charges are forthcoming.

The News & Observer is reporting that both men have prior convictions. Davis for felony breaking and entering and larceny. Arrington for drug, assault and firearm-related charges, according to the report.

Intellectual Loss

Liu came to UNC ten years ago, after the school recruited a team of five researchers to transfer from the University of Pittsburg. His research on cancer medication delivery was internationally recognized, Mumper said.

"He had funding from the National Institutes of Health to do research in this area. And those grants supported directly seven people that are working in his laboratory under his leadership."

No one from the lab was available for comment. The school says they are providing grief counselors for those who worked closest to Liu.