After fighting extradition for more than a month, one of two accused killers in the shooting deaths of a Lake Wylie couple at their home in October is now in jail in York without bond.
Malcolm Jarrell Hartley, 21, was extradited on Thursday and served two warrants for murder. The Charlotte man was taken from the Mecklenburg County Jail, where he had been since Jan. 29, to the York County Detention Center.
In a short court hearing before York County Magistrate Richard Watkins, Hartley was told of the charges and was qualified as indigent, so he will receive a public defender, according to records at the York County Clerk of Court.
Charlotte prosecutors say Doug London, 63, and Debbie London, 61, were gunned down Oct. 23 to keep Doug London from testifying against three alleged gang members charged with the May robbery of the couple’s Charlotte mattress store.
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Brianna Johnson, 19, of Concord, N.C., also has been charged with two counts of murder and is represented by the 16th Circuit Public Defender’s Office. Because of a potential conflict, it is likely that Hartley would be assigned a lawyer next week from a list of private appointees.
Johnson has been in jail in York since her arrest in January. Both could face the death penalty if 16th Circuit Solicitor Kevin Brackett decides to seek it.
On Friday, Brackett declined to speak about the case and whether his office would seek the death penalty. He said he appreciated the cooperation of federal and state authorities in both South Carolina and North Carolina in getting Hartley to York to “face justice.”
Brackett used a governor’s warrant signed by both Gov. Nikki Haley and N.C. Gov. Pat McCrory to extradite Hartley, and deputies and prosecutors in both York County and Mecklenburg County worked on the extradition, he said.
“All these agencies were helpful in getting us to this point where we could return Mr. Hartley to South Carolina to face these charges,” Brackett said.
Although a North Carolina prosecutor said last month that Doug London was killed to keep him from testifying, Brackett again declined to say what the relationship is between Hartley and Johnson and the three Charlotte men – including one who is an admitted Bloods gang member – charged with the mattress store robbery.
Jamell Cureton, 22, his brother Nana Adoma, 19, and David Lee Fudge, 21, all face federal interstate robbery and weapons charges. Police have said Doug London shot Cureton during the robbery attempt. After the Londons were killed in October, federal authorities joined York County and Charlotte-Mecklenburg police in the investigation of the killings.
John Strong, FBI agent in charge for North Carolina, has declined to go into detail about the killings but acknowledged the robbery and killings he described as a “horrendous act” were connected.
Cureton and Adoma were in jail at the time of the killings, but Fudge, the admitted gang member, already had pleaded guilty to being the getaway driver and was on probation. He was re-arrested on the federal charges in January.
Cureton’s jail cell was searched by FBI agents Jan. 12, and agents found pictures of a federal judge, a North Carolina judge and a Charlotte prosecutor. Federal officials tightened security afterward, and Hartley and Johnson were arrested Jan. 29.
The three robbery suspects remain jailed without bond in Charlotte. Each has a federal court hearing scheduled for March 16, but their lawyers have asked for a postponement. They have not been charged in connection to the killings.
However, legal experts have told The Herald that the case appears to be a “classic conspiracy” and that anyone connected with the plot to have the Londons killed could face charges up to and including murder.