LUMBERTON, NC (WMBF) – The man accused of kidnapping and murdering 13-year-old Hania Aguilar could face the death penalty if convicted, according to a judge’s Thursday ruling.
According to court documents, a hearing was held Thursday where the prosecution announced its intent to seek the death penalty for Michael McLellan.
The state listed one of its aggravating factors for seeking the death penalty was that “the capital felony was especially heinous, atrocious, or cruel,” court records state.
McLellan is charged with 10 felonies, including first-degree murder, first-degree forcible rape, kidnapping, and concealment of death.
Aguilar was reportedly forced into an SUV and kidnapped outside her home at the Rosewood Mobile Home Park in Lumberton on Nov. 5, 2018.
Local and federal authorities followed 850 leads and conducted nearly 500 interviews during the investigation that followed.
Weeks after the kidnapping, Aguilar’s body was found.