Crime & Courts

Document: Lake Wylie victim tried to defend himself, but gun failed

A portrait of Doug and Debbie London on stage during the funeral service on Oct. 29, 2014, at Bethlehem Church in Gastonia for Doug and Debbie London, the couple was murdered in their Lake Wylie home last week.
A portrait of Doug and Debbie London on stage during the funeral service on Oct. 29, 2014, at Bethlehem Church in Gastonia for Doug and Debbie London, the couple was murdered in their Lake Wylie home last week.

Doug London fired one shot at the man who came to his front door to kill him and his wife, but a spent shell casing lodged itself in the gun, rendering it useless, according to newly released court documents.

First responders found the bodies of London and his wife, Debbie, just inside the front door of their Lake Wylie home a short time later, according to the documents, which were unsealed Wednesday. Debbie had been shot in the face. Her husband was shot in his face and chest, and twice in his back.

Prosecutors said Malcolm Jarrell Hartley killed the Londons in October to prevent Doug London from testifying in court about an earlier robbery of their Charlotte mattress store by members of the United Blood Nation gang.

Details of the killings were released in a criminal affidavit for Jamell Cureton, a leader in the Charlotte cell of the gang called the Valentine Bloods. Cureton was shot by Doug London during the May 2014 robbery attempt at the Mattress Warehouse on South Boulevard, court documents say.

Cureton, Nana Adoma and David Fudge were arrested in the ensuing weeks and charged with the robbery.

Cureton later communicated with other members of the gang in phone calls and letters from jail, saying they needed to discredit the Londons or stop them from testifying altogether, according to the documents.

Cureton was later arrested in connection with the Londons’ killings. He faces almost a dozen federal charges; six carry the death penalty. A federal indictment charges him and five other UBN members with the Londons’ killings.

The federal government took over the case a week after the Londons were killed. In all, a dozen members of the Bloods were charged in the racketeering case.

After the robbery, the Londons showed up to court appearances for Cureton and the other alleged robbers, frustrating Cureton, according to documents.

In a letter to Adoma after the robbery, Cureton said the Londons were causing hassles by showing up to the court appearances and needed to be discredited, according to the documents.

In the letter, Cureton suggests that the two come up with matching stories about the robbery.

They should say Doug London “smoke crack & owed 1 of us some money – we (came) to collect,” the letter said, according to court documents.

In the letter, Cureton said Doug London was “gunning” for him, according to the court documents. “Hunt for blood and blood gone hunt for you.”

For weeks, members of the Valentine Bloods plotted the couple’s killing, according to the indictment in the case.

Cureton played a leading role, despite being in jail at the time, Assistant U.S. Attorney Elizabeth Green said in April.

Cureton – a midlevel gang leader known as “Murda Mel” and “Assassin” – called meetings, made phone calls, even wrote orders on how he wanted the killings carried out, court documents state.

At one point, Greene said, a gang member asked Cureton if he wanted “One or two weeks?”

Translation: Did he want one or both of the Londons silenced?

“Yeah, two weeks,” Cureton replied, Greene said.

Near the end of the letter released with court documents this week, Cureton indicates that their plans needed to stay secret.

“I need you to destroy this letter. … I got something in store for our friend. (And I don’t) need nobody searching (and) finding nothing incriminating.”

Wootson: 704-358-5046;

Twitter: @CleveWootson

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