Crime & Courts

Suspect in Lake Wylie murder has probation revoked

Malcolm Hartley, 21, faces an extradition hearing next week, which is expected to clear the way for him being tried for the October murders of Charlotte mattress store owners Doug and Debbie London in Lake Wylie.
Malcolm Hartley, 21, faces an extradition hearing next week, which is expected to clear the way for him being tried for the October murders of Charlotte mattress store owners Doug and Debbie London in Lake Wylie.

On Monday, Malcolm Hartley was ordered to serve up to 36 months in an N.C. prison.

South Carolina, though, has business with him first.

Hartley is one of two suspects charged in the October shooting deaths of Charlotte business owners Doug and Debbie London at their Lake Wylie home.

Last week, a Mecklenburg prosecutor said the husband and wife were gunned down to keep Doug London from testifying against three men charged with the attempted armed robbery in May of the couple’s South Boulevard mattress store. Court documents say one of the three is a ranking member of United Blood Nation, an East Coast gang with extensive criminal ties to Charlotte.

On March 12, a Mecklenburg judge will rule on South Carolina’s request to bring Hartley across the state line to stand trial. His co-defendant in the murder case, 19-year-old Briana Johnson of Concord, already is being held in the York County Jail.

The apparent gang ties to the killings have put local officials on alert. Last month, two judges and the Charlotte city attorney were placed under protective watch after their photos were found in the cell of one of the robbery suspects.

At 12:15 p.m Monday, deputies led the handcuffed and manacled Hartley before Superior Court Judge Greg Hayes for a hearing on whether Hartley had violated his probation from a 2013 conviction for conspiring to rob a Charlotte pizzeria.

Hartley smiled at public defender Victoria Perez as he entered the room. Hartley had violated the terms of his release by failing to make required payments and by being arrested on a drug-paraphernalia charge. The pending murder charges in South Carolina did not factor in.

Hayes activated Hartley’s original robbery sentence of 20 to 36 months. Whether any of that time is ever served remains in doubt. Hartley’s extradition to South Carolina is almost certain. If convicted of either of the Londons’ murders, he faces at least a life sentence with without parole.

York County Solicitor Kevin Brackett said last month that he has not decided whether he will seek the death penalty.

Gordon: 704-358-5095

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