Prosecutor: Lake Wylie Couple Murdered To Prevent Testimony In Robbery
CHARLOTTE A Lake Wylie couple was shot to death in their home in October to prevent one of them from testifying in court about the May robbery of their Charlotte mattress store, a North Carolina prosecutor said in court Thursday.
Monique Holman, a Mecklenburg County assistant district attorney, told District Court Judge Karen Eady-Williams during an extradition hearing that Doug and Debbie London were killed to keep Doug London from testifying against two men charged with the May 25 robbery of the couple's Wholesale Mattress Warehouse.
It was the first time police or prosecutors have said what the motive was for the Oct. 23 killings that rocked the Londons' lakeside community.
Malcolm Jarrell Hartley, 21, was charged Jan. 29 with two counts of murder in connection with the shooting deaths. Because there were two victims, Hartley could face a death penalty trial in York County if prosecutors choose to seek capital punishment.
Jessica Delucia, the assistant public defender representing Hartley, said that while she understands the seriousness of the charges, "at this point, (Hartley) is not guilty."
Delucia told Eady-Williams that Hartley should be granted bond in connection with the extradition warrant.
"He is not a fugitive like Richard Kimball," Delucia said, referring to the fictional wrongly accused hero of the 1993 movie and 1960s TV show, "The Fugitive."
Judge Eady-Williams denied bond on the extradition warrant.
Prosecutors did not say during the hearing how Hartley might be linked with three men charged in federal court with the robbery.
Briana Johnson, 19, of Concord, N.C., also is charged with two counts of murder in connection with the shooting deaths of the Londons. She is being held without bond at the York County jail.
Hartley also was in court Monday, when he waived any attempt to try to get out on bond on a probation violation.
Hartley had a three-year prison sentence suspended to 30 months’ probation in 2013 when he pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit armed robbery at a Domino’s Pizza branch in Charlotte along with two other men. He also was arrested in November on drug charges. In court Monday, Hartley made no statements and only signed a form before being taken back to jail in chains.