An FBI affidavit was released Wednesday related to the investigation into the killing of a Lake Wylie, S.C., couple. Officials say the case has gang connections.
The affidavit reveals details about the connection between gang members of the United Blood Nation (UBN) outside jail and their alleged ringleader, 22-year-old Jamell Cureton, who was in jail at the time of the killings.
Cureton is accused of plotting the killings of Lake Wylie couple Debbie London, 61, and Doug London, 63, from behind bars in 2014. He is facing the death penalty.
In April, Cureton pleaded not guilty to all charges. Back in January, federal agents searched his cell.
In early May, Cureton requested in federal court that the charges be thrown out after his attorney, Chiege Okwara, says his jail cell was searched in what she’s calling an illegal search.
Cureton claims that his right to defend himself was taken away when his cell was raided in January by the FBI and correspondence with his attorney was seized. He claims other documents were also taken in the raid.
Those documents included letters from Cureton to Nana Adoma, another alleged gang member. The affidavit released Wednesday reveals why agents wanted to search the Adoma’s cell.
According to the document, several recorded phone calls between Cureton and other alleged gang members accused in the killing were seized, as well as letters between Cureton, those gang members and attorneys.
Okwara calls it an over-reach by the federal government, saying that it violated attorney-client privilege rules.
In the phone calls and letters, the affidavit states, Cureton and the alleged gang members spoke in code about their plans and the foiled robbery of the London’s Charlotte mattress store that started it all.
In one phone call, the affidavit states, Cureton tells someone to “lookup London” to “see if he had ever been previously arrested.
In one of the letters seized, Cureton allegedly wrote, “An as fore as that old man goes we needa say he smoke crack & owed 1 of us some money - we came to collect he ‘gave’ me his iPhone, we said ‘Dats not enough’ so he gave us the bank bag then shot me. I shot back in self defence an so own an so forth.”(SIC)
According to the affidavit, the letter goes on to say, “We needa come up with something because he showing up to every cort date you (*I got something for that thoe) we need destroy his credibility as a witness an victim ‘we do victems man, we - da -victems’LOL.” (SIC)
Cureton goes on to say it’s “his word vs. ours,” and that they have to help each other out. He also says he’ll have another person to show up to trial and “say what ever to help you & me have matching highly probable storys.” (SIC)
He then writes, according to the affidavit, “That cracker [expletive] us up thoe he is gunning for us bra. Hunt for blood and blood gone hunt for you.” (SIC)
Cureton wrote a letter to the judge in early May saying some of the documents seized in the search of his cell have not been returned and he believes they have been shared with prosecutors. In that letter, he expresses that his right to a fair trial has been compromised.
“I contend that they had access to our documents that includes his questions to me as his attorney,” she told reporters.
Okwara also said that the U.S. Attorney’s office now has the defense strategy.
In court, federal prosecutors refuted that claim and said the documents removed from Cureton’s jail cell had nothing to do with how his case was being handled. Prosecutors say everything that was taken from the Mecklenburg County jail has been shared with Cureton’s defense counsel.
Cureton is among 12 reputed members of the United Blood Nation charged with running a criminal enterprise in Charlotte. He is charged with the 2013 murder of Kwamne Clyburn in a Charlotte park and of planning the lake-home hit on Doug and Debbie London last October.
The Londons were found shot to death in their Tioga Road home on Oct. 23, 2014. Cureton stared down cameras as he walked into the back entrance of the federal courthouse during his previous appearance.
A 51-page federal indictment says the couple was killed to keep the husband from testifying against three gang members who attempted to rob the Londons’ mattress store last May. Cureton was reportedly wounded by Doug London during the attempt. Adoma allegedly watched the door of the business during the robbery, and was with Cureton when he showed up at a nearby hospital with a gun wound.
When agents searched Cureton’s cell in January, they found letters from Adoma to Cureton. According to the court documents, based on the evidence investigators believe Cureton had sent more letters to Adoma.
After the hearing in early May, Cureton’s lawyer discussed a letter Cureton wrote and motions she filed in this case.
A recent gang round-up was conducted by the FBI and included 12 alleged UBN members. Six of the alleged gang members, including Cureton, David Lee Fudge, Randall Avery Hankins II, Malcolm Jarrel Hartley, Briana Shakeyah Johnson and Rahkeem Lee McDonald, are charged in the killing of the Londons, according to a federal indictment.
Prosecutors had no comment as they left the proceedings, but one of Cureton’s relatives said, “The court’s gonna handle everything.”
If convicted, Cureton could face the death penalty.