WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) -- A 17-year-old boy is still behind bars after allegedly trying to rob a Wilmington convenience store Wednesday morning. This story sparked a flurry of comments on our website; the most interesting ones coming from the suspect's own mother who said she raised her son right, but he is making bad decisions. We spoke exclusively with Jaquan Martin and his mom in a story you’ll see “ONLY ON 3.”
"Don't try to fit in the crowd just because you feel alone. Don't try to act that way just because you want to be part of something,” said robbery suspect Jaquan Martin from behind the glass at the New Hanover County Jail. “Be your own man. Make your own decisions, or somebody will force you to do something that you know is wrong. Think before you act.”
That's the advice Martin has after being arrested and jailed for attempting to rob the A&J Food Mart early Wednesday morning.
The robbery didn't go as planned. Martin was held up by the store clerk, and begged for his life. Martin says he wasn't in his right mind when he tried to rob the store.
"It was dumb,” Martin admits. “I wasn't thinking because of the drugs I was on."
He says he didn't think about the consequences, but now all he can think about is how he doesn't want to be behind bars. He said it's a place he would never wish on anyone.
Among her feelings of sadness, Jaquan's mom Tamika Beatty said she's also happy, happy because her son is in jail and not in the ground. She’s thankful the store clerk didn't kill her son and gave him the opportunity to turn his life around.
"He's still my son. I still love him,” Beatty said. “Regardless of what type of stuff that he do, I have to continue to love him and nurture him and try to get him to be better in today's society."
Martin said he's got a simple message for his mom and the store clerk.
"I apologize for everything I put you through, all the heartache, all the stress, the pain,” Martin said.
Martin said he used to make good grades and play sports, but then he started doing drugs. Beatty said Martin was an A-B honor roll senior at Laney High School set to graduate this summer, but the possibility of jail time will likely set him back.
In response to the comments about not knowing where her son was at four o’clock in the morning, Beatty said it’s nearly impossible to know where your children are 24/7.
Martin said his mom did raise him with morals, and he’s sorry he made the choices he did that landed him in jail.