Two Charlotte Bloods Gang Members Plead Guilty For the The Double-Murder Of Lake Wylie Couple
One Defendant Also Pleads Guilty to A Third and Unrelated Murder
CHARLOTE, N.C. – U.S. Attorney Jill Westmoreland Rose announced today that Jamell Lamon Cureton, 24, and Malcolm Jarrel Hartley, 23, pleaded guilty to murder and related charges, for their respective roles in the 2014 double-murder of Douglas and Deborah London in Lake Wylie, S.C. Cureton also took responsibility for a previously unsolved murder, the death of Kwamne Donqurius Clyburn, in August 2013 in Charlotte. U.S. District Court Judge Max O. Cogburn, Jr. presided over today’s plea hearings.
John A. Strong, Special Agent in Charge of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), Charlotte Division; Chief Kerr Putney of the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department; and Sheriff Bruce Bryant of the York County Sheriff’s Office in South Carolina join U.S. Attorney Rose in making today’s announcement.
At today’s court appearance, Cureton pleaded guilty to a total of 10 counts: two counts of murder in aid of racketeering for the deaths of Douglas and Deborah London; two counts of use and carry of a firearm in relation to a crime of violence and possession of a firearm in furtherance of a crime of violence resulting in the deaths of Douglas and Deborah London; one count of racketeering conspiracy; one count of Hobbs Act robbery; one count of assault with a dangerous weapon in aid of racketeering activity; one count of use or carry of a firearm in relation to a crime of violence and possession of a firearm in furtherance of a crime of violence; one count of murder in aid of racketeering for the death of Kwamne Donqurius Clyburn; and one count of use and carry of a firearm in relation to a crime of violence and possession of a firearm in furtherance of a crime of violence resulting in the death of Kwamne Donqurius Clyburn.
Hartley pleaded guilty to a total of five counts: two counts of murder in aid of racketeering for the deaths of Douglas and Deborah London; two counts of use and carry of a firearm in relation to a crime of violence and possession of a firearm in furtherance of a crime of violence resulting in the deaths of Douglas and Deborah London; and one count racketeering conspiracy.
According to previous court filings, admissions contained in filed plea documents and today’s plea hearings:
Beginning at least in or about 2012, Cureton, Hartley and their co-defendants were members of the United Blood Nation gang (UBN or Bloods) in Charlotte. As UBN members, the defendants carried out violent acts for the purpose of protecting and furthering the gang’s power. Court documents show that the defendants operated according to a common set of Bloods’ rules and participated regularly in gang meetings to discuss, among other things, the commission of crimes, including robbery and murder.
Cureton, a.k.a. “Assassin” and “Murda Mel,” is a member of the Charlotte-area UBN and holds the rank of 5-Star General. As early as 2007, Cureton reported his affiliation with the UBN as a Valentine Blood. Law enforcement seized Cureton’s UBN “Book of Knowledge,” wherein he was identified as a 3-Star General and has since been promoted to a 5-Star General. As a 5-Star General, Cureton commanded the gang’s activities in the area. Hartley, a.k.a. “Silent” and “Bloody Silent,” is also a member of the Charlotte-area Valentine Blood set of the UBN. Hartley was “ranked up,” or “promoted,” to a 2-Star General, following the murders of Douglas and Deborah London.
On or about May 25, 2014, Cureton, Nana Yaw Adoma and David Lee Fudge robbed “The Mattress Warehouse” store, owned by the victims, Douglas and Deborah London, in Pineville, N.C. Federal charges were subsequently filed against Cureton, Adoma and Fudge in connection with the robbery. In the months that followed, Cureton communicated with Hartley and other UBN gang members and associates, including co-defendants Daquan Lamar Everrett, Randall Avery Hankins, II, Nehemijel Maurice Houston, Briana Shakeyah Johnson, Ibn Rashaan Kornegay, Centrilla Shardon Leach, and Rahkeem Lee McDonald to plan the murders of Douglas and Deborah London. In a letter Cureton sent from prison, Cureton explained that he ordered the murder of Douglas London because the victim was going to testify against him in court, and described Deborah London as “collateral damage.” The gang’s leadership authorized Hartley to proceed with the murder, and on or about October 23, 2014, Johnson drove Hartley to South Carolina, where Hartley shot and killed Douglas and Deborah London at their home.
Following the Londons’ murders, UBN leadership directed the gang members to “lay low” and to avoid contact with law enforcement. Cureton also told Hartley that from that point forward the topic of the victims’ murders was forbidden to be discussed and authorized action against any person who talked about it.
Today in court, Cureton also admitted that on August 22, 2013, Cureton, Adoma and Akheem McDonald murdered Kwamne Donqurius Clyburn, after luring him to Pressley Road Neighborhood Park, in Charlotte. Cureton admitted in court papers that the three gang members murdered Clyburn because they suspected that Clyburn was “false claiming” (falsely claiming to be a Bloods member), and because Clyburn failed a “DNA check,” meaning that they could not verify Clyburn’s claim to be a Blood.
“Cureton is responsible for the murders of three people, Kwamne Donqurius Clyburn, and Douglas and Deborah London. In 2013, Cureton participated in Clyburn’s murder to protect the gang’s reputation and to send a message to anyone who falsely claimed to be a Bloods member. A year later, Cureton ordered and orchestrated the murder of Douglas and Deborah London, and directed Hartley to take the lives of two innocent victims,” said U.S. Attorney Rose. “It is our hope that today’s guilty pleas will help bring closure to the families and friends of the three victims and allow the healing process to begin. We are thankful to the victims’ families for their continued support throughout this prosecution. I also commend the FBI for their outstanding investigative work and excellent cooperation and coordination with our local law enforcement partners in North and South Carolina,” Rose added.
“Jamell Cureton and Malcolm Hartley are violent and ruthless men who used their gang affiliations to commit heinous crimes against innocent victims. Due to the incredible cooperation and coordination between the FBI and our local law enforcement partners, they had no choice except to admit their crimes and accept their fate to spend the rest of their lives in federal prison. The FBI is pleased that the victims’ families will not have to relive the nightmare of what happened to their loved ones during a long trial,” said John Strong, the Special Agent in Charge of the Charlotte Division of the FBI.
At sentencing, Cureton and Hartley face a mandatory sentence of life in prison. In addition to Cureton and Hartley, co-defendants Fudge, Everett, Kornegay, Leach, Johnson, Houston and Rahkeem Lee McDonald previously pleaded guilty to federal charges, bringing to nine the total number of defendants who have entered guilty pleas in connection this prosecution. Sentencing dates for those defendants have not been set.
Three additional defendants, Adoma, Hankins and Ahkeem McDonald currently each face racketeering conspiracy charges. Ahkeem McDonald and Adoma are also charged with murder in aid of racketeering and use and carry of a firearm during and in relation to a crime of violence and possession of a firearm in furtherance of a crime of violence resulting in the death of Kwamne Donqurius Clyburn. Adoma is also charged with Hobbs Act Robbery, assault with a dangerous weapon in aid of racketeering activity and use or carry of a firearm in relation to a crime of violence and possession of a firearm in furtherance of a crime of violence for his role in the mattress store robbery. Randall Hankins is also charged with two counts of murder in aid of racketeering and two counts of use and carry of a firearm during and in relation to a crime of violence and possession of a firearm in furtherance of a crime of violence resulting in the deaths of Douglas and Deborah London.
The investigation was led by the FBI with the invaluable assistance of CMPD and the York County Sheriff’s Office. In making today’s announcement U.S. Attorney Rose also thanked York County Solicitor Kevin Brackett for his support and assistance throughout the investigation and prosecution of this case.
Assistant U.S. Attorneys Elizabeth Greene and Don Gast are prosecuting the case.