No death penalty for Burlington man accused of killing girlfriend and her unborn child in Charlotte

Mahmood Bhatti, 28.

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Prosecutors announced Thursday morning that they will not seek the death penalty for a Burlington man accused of killing his pregnant girlfriend and her unborn child in Charlotte, according to WSOC.

Charlotte-Mecklenburg police arrested 28-year-old Mahmood Bhatti in late October and charged him with murder.

On Oct. 19, deputies in York County found a woman’s body on the side of Dobys Bridge Road in Fort Mill. The coroner completed an autopsy of the woman and determined that she was pregnant at the time of her death.

During the investigation, detectives determined she was killed somewhere else and that her body was dumped on the side of the road.

The next day, on Oct. 20, CMPD responded to a missing persons call on Via Romano Drive in Charlotte. This was the last known address for 23-year-old Natalie Merrick.

Detectives were then able to determine that the body found in Fort Mill was Merrick.

On Oct. 24, investigators determined that the crime took place in Charlotte and developed Bhatti as the suspect.

According to warrants obtained by WSOC, Bhatti searched, “Can you put a gag in someone’s mouth,” “How to gag someone so they can’t scream,” and “How to properly choke a girl” on his cellphone.

Police said Bhatti and Merrick were in a long-term relationship and had a child together.