LAKE WYLIE, S.C. (WBTV) — Six members of the United Blood Nation gang were sentenced Monday in connection with the October 2014 killing of a business couple in Lake Wylie.
Deputies say 61-year-old Debbie London and 63-year-old Doug London were found shot to death in their Tioga Road home on October 23, 2014. The couple’s son, Daniel London, found the couple and called 911.
After an FBI raid of Charlotte’s United Blood Nation, 12 defendants were charged in a racketeering operation conspiracy.
Six of those members, Jamell Lamon Cureton, David Lee Fudge, Randall Avery Hankins II, Malcolm Jarrel Hartley, Briana Shakeyah Johnson and Rahkeem Lee McDonald, were charged in the killing of the Londons, according to a federal indictment.
Additionally, Nana Yaw Adoma, Daquan Lamar Everett, Nehemijel Maurice Houston, Ibn Rashaan Kornegay, Centrilia Shardon Leach and Ahkeem Tahja McDonald were charged in the conspiracy.
According to the district attorney, the six gang members were sentenced to terms ranging from 13 years to life in prison.
On Tuesday, the DA said that McDonald was sentenced to life in prison after he pleaded guilty to “conspiracy and murder in aid of racketeering charges in connection to the Londons’ murder.”
Fudge was given a sentence of 26 years in prison and five years of supervised release, according to the DA. Court officials say Fudge also plead guilty to conspiracy and murder in aid of racketeering charges in connection with the Londons’ murder. He also pleaded guilty to robbing the Pineville-area mattress store which was owned by the couple, according to the DA.
Court officials say Kornegay was sentenced to 23 years in prison and five years of supervised release. Houston was sentenced to 20 years in prison and five years of supervised release, the DA stated.
According to the DA, Everrett was sentenced to 13 years in prison and five years of supervised release. Leach was sentenced to serve 13 years in prison and five years of supervised release, court officials stated.
Court officials said that each defendant pleaded guilty to one count of the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act (RICO) conspiracy.
The DA stated that the judge had previously sentenced Cureton and Hartley to life in prison in connection with the killing of the Lake Wylie couple. Court officials say Cureton received a second life sentence in connection with the unrelated deadly shooting of Kwamne Clyburn in 2013.
Clyburn was shot and killed in a southwest Charlotte park in 2013.
Four more people are awaiting sentencing in connection with the killing of the Londons, according to court officials.
The DA released this statement Tuesday:
“Beginning in at least or about 2012, the defendants were members of the Bloods and 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.”
Three of the members, Cureton, Adoma and Fudge, previously robbed the couple’s mattress store and the members were attempting to stop the Londons from testifying.
The defendants operated under a common set of rules known as the “31” and used a ranking system. They participate in meetings, “like any other enterprise,” acting U.S. Attorney Jill Westmoreland Rose said in a press conference. They “discuss punishment for those they fear may be cooperating with law enforcement,” Rose said.
On Oct. 1, 2014, Hartley and Johnson conducted surveillance of The Mattress Warehouse of Pineville on South Boulevard in an attempt to locate the Londons and kill them, court documents state. They not only wanted to prevent the Londons from testifying against them, but documents say they wanted to retaliate against the couple for previous court appearances related to the robbery case.
Doug London tried to defend the store and his life, police said, when he shot and hit one of the suspects, later identified as Cureton. Cureton went to a local hospital and was arrested on state robbery charges. That’s when the defendants began to exchange correspondence and conspire with each other to plan the murder of Douglas London, “the only eyewitness to the robbery,” officials said.
An indictment says in September 2014, Hartley got a gun that was eventually used to kill the Londons. Later that month, according to investigators, Johnson joined Fudge and Hartley in a gang meeting to discuss her membership, and her duty to drive Hartley to commit shootings.
On Oct. 5, the gang members conducted a meeting in Greenville. Two days later the members conducted a phone meeting where they planned the killing of Doug and Debbie London, court documents state. Apparently, two members failed to accomplish “that goal.”
That’s when someone known to the Grand Jury received a text from Fudge saying that he had “sent the hit,” meaning he ordered the killing of the couple.
After several more meetings, the “Hitman,” McDonald, along with Hartley, Fudge, Cureton and Hankins, “conspired to, attempted to, and did murder Douglas London and Deborah London at the Londons’ residence in Clover,” court documents state.
Acting US Attorney Rose said Johnson drove Hartley to the Londons’ Lake Wylie home and Hartley shot the couple.
“Hartley and Johnson returned to the Charlotte area where they began to dispose of evidence of murders and grotesquely celebrated the deaths of Doug and Debbie London, a prosecutor said during a press conference.
The next meeting was a celebration. In a telephone meeting on Oct. 25, Hartley admitted to killing the couple, court documents said.
According to the DA, Johnson, Hankins, Adoma and McDonald are in state custody. Court officials say the “maximum penalty associated with the charges of which they are convicted is life in prison.”
The DA stated that a sentencing date has not been scheduled.
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