Crime & Courts

Suspect in robbery of slain Lake Wylie couple demands charges be dropped

Staff reports

A portrait of Doug and Debbie London on stage during their funeral service Oct. 29.
A portrait of Doug and Debbie London on stage during their funeral service Oct. 29. rlahser@charlotteobserver.com

The ex-con accused of the armed robbery of a Lake Wylie couple who were later murdered to keep them from testifying in court wants all charges against him thrown out, saying the seizure of materials from his jail cell – which prompted widespread protective measures for judges and lawyers – was illegal.

Doug and Debbie London were gunned down Oct. 23 in their lakefront home. Prosecutors and police say the killings are connected to the robbery and have charged two people with the murders.

Robbery suspect Jamell Cureton, 22, was already in jail on Oct. 23 and has not been charged in connection with the killings.

Cureton’s lawyer, Chiege Okwara, claims materials the FBI seized Jan. 12 from his Charlotte jail cell contain information police and prosecutors under the law have no right to see. She filed a motion late Friday seeking to have the case dismissed.

The filing came after a Thursday meeting with the FBI, during which agents showed Okwara what was seized from Cureton’s cell. The items included pictures of judges. Federal agents provided security for the three pictured judges and lawyers after the seizure.

Federal agents and prosecutors have balked at Cureton’s attempts to have the charges dropped, and he remains jailed without bond. No court date has been set for a judge to hear Cureton’s request.

Cureton was shot by Doug London during the robbery attempt in May, police say, and he later confessed to the robbery. His brother, Nana Adoma, 19, confessed to being the lookout and a third man, admitted Bloods gang kingpin David Lee Fudge, 21, pleaded guilty to driving the getaway car. Cureton and Adoma were jailed in May and have been there since.

The FBI began investigating both crimes after the Londons were killed, and all three charged in connection with the robbery are now jailed without bond. None of the three has been charged in connection with the killings.

In late January, police charged Malcolm Hartley, 21, of Charlotte, and his girlfriend, Briana Johnson, 19, of Concord, N.C., with murder in connection with the killings and confirmed the murders were tied to the robbery.

Hartley and Johnson are jailed at the York County Detention Center and could face the death penalty if convicted of murder.

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