Professor Feng Liu
Professor Feng Liu, a distinguished professor at the UNC Eshelman School of Pharmacy, was found badly beaten and robbed on West University Drive. Liu later died at UNC Hospitals from blunt force head trauma, according to an autopsy report released Tuesday from the North Carolina Office of the Chief Medical Examiner .
Police have arrested and charged Durham resident Derick Davis II, 23, and Chapel Hill resident Troy Arrington Jr., 27, with first degree murder and felony counts of robbery.
District Attorney Jim Woodall said he can’t disclose whether he plans to pursue the death penalty in the case.
In the five years leading up to October 2013, Davis spent 30 months in prison for a string of crimes including breaking and entering properties, assaulting a female and larceny of motor vehicles. In the four years leading up to November 2013, Arrington spent 27 months in North Carolina correctional facilities for crimes including obtaining property by false pretenses and possessing a firearm as a convicted felon.
Woodall said the two men will appear in court again on Sept. 17.
Liu was taking his normal daily walk when he was found by neighbors in Chapel Hill’s Westwood neighborhood.
The University released the Rave Guardian Campus Safety mobile application Tuesday to improve students’ safety while they’re exploring Chapel Hill.
“With the start of a new academic year, we want to reinforce the importance of safety and well-being for everyone in the Carolina community,” Chief Jeff McCracken, the director of the Department of Public Safety, said in a statement. “To help you remain safe, on and off campus, the University is providing an app that turns your cellphone into a personal safety device.”
The mobile application allows students to set a timer to check in and out when exploring unfamiliar places. The application can alert the Department of Public Safety if the timer isn’t turned off in a certain amount of time.
“There’s always the risk of danger even in comparatively safe communities like Chapel Hill, and recent unfortunate events near campus have illustrated that,” said senior Claire McLaughlin. “It’s great that Student Affairs and the Department of Public Safety recognize that they need to take additional steps to help students feel more secure in the wake of what happened to Feng Liu over the summer.”
Senior writer Carolyn Ebeling contributed reporting.