Sixth defendant pleads guilty in couple's shooting death

CHARLOTTE, NC (WBTV) - A sixth defendant pleaded guilty to her role in the murders of a Lake Wylie couple in October 2014. Deborah and Doug London were shot and killed at their home.

Investigators said the murders were carried out by gang members and associates trying to keep the two victims from testifying against a fellow gang member.

In federal court Wednesday, Briana Johnson plead guilty to two counts of murder in aid of racketeering and conspiracy to commit racketeering.

According to prosecutors, Johnson drove suspected shooter Malcolm Hartley to and from the London's home to commit the crimes.
In the factual basis for the charge against Johnson, investigators allege she and Hartley took photos together with the eventual murder weapon before the crime.

Prosecutors said once the two were at the London's house, Hartley went to the door and shot Doug and Deborah London.

In new documents, investigators said Hartley was leaving when he heard Doug London scream, only to return to shoot him again.

Documents also reveal a portion of an alleged text message exchange between Johnson and Hartley after the crimes.

"If someone sacrificed as many things as I did for you, for me???" the text read. "I'd never want to hurt them cause they must be serious about a relationship. Who took you to class? Me. Work? Me. If I had money, you'd take it for bus fair. Greenville? Me again. 187? [expletive] me! I was a decent girlfriend but clearly not good enough. All I wanted was commitment. That's iiiittttttt!"

Investigators said 187 is code for murder.

Several members and associates of the United Blood Nations gang have been indicted on charges related to the deaths.

Hartley is still awaiting trial.

Five pleaded guilty in federal court Tuesday including:

  • David “Flames” Fudge of Pineville. He drove the get-away car after a failed robbery of the Londons’ mattress store and took an active role planning the London killings, prosecutors say.
  • Rahkeem “Hitman” McDonald of Charlotte. He buried the murder weapon and destroyed other evidence, prosecutors say.
  • Ibn “IB” Kornegay of Greenville, N.C. He is a top UBN leader from eastern North Carolina, prosecutors say.
  • Centrilia “CeCe” Leach of Charlotte. She photographed Debbie London at a court hearing as part of the gang’s plan, prosecutors say.
  • Daquan “Day Day” Everett of Charlotte. He hosted a celebration of the Londons’ killings at his home, prosecutors say.

None of the five were at the Londons' home when the couple was killed, but they played roles before or afterward, prosecutors have said. Their pleas are the most significant development in the case in months, raising the possibility that other plea agreements could be announced soon for some of the remaining defendants.

McDonald, 23, pleaded guilty to two counts of murder in the aid of racketeering for helping plan the hits on the Londons. McDonald also entered a guilty plea on a racketeering conspiracy charge.

Each murder count carries a possible death penalty while the racketeering charge has a maximum penalty of life in prison. Prosecutors said they would not seek the death penalty.

Fudge pleaded guilty to the same murder and racketeering charges as McDonald, plus he pleaded guilty to the mattress store robbery.

Kornegay, 36, pleaded guilty to the racketeering conspiracy charge, as did Leach and Everett. They each face a possible life sentence.

All of the defendants will be sentenced later.

The Londons were found shot to death in their Lake Wylie, S.C., home a year ago this week.

Prosecutors say they were stalked and eventually murdered near the front door of their home on Oct. 23, 2014, to keep Doug London from testifying against three UBN members who tried to rob the couple's Pineville mattress store that May.

Twelve suspected UBN members or associates were indicted earlier this year in connection with the killings, including Jamell "Assassin" Cureton and Malcolm "Bloody Silent" Hartley, both of Charlotte.

Cureton and Hartley still face a possible death sentence.

Cureton, 23, planned the hit from his cell in the Mecklenburg County Jail and then used jail phones to iron out last details, investigators say in court documents. Doug London shot and wounded him during the attempted mattress-store robbery.

Hartley is accused of shooting both Londons at Cureton's request.

Cureton and Ahkeem "Lil Keem" McDonald, Rahkeem's brother, also face murder charges linked to the 2013 execution-style death of Kwamne Clyburn, a homeless teenager from Winston-Salem whose body was found in a park off South Tryon Street. Prosecutors say Clyburn was tied up and shot multiple times for falsely claiming he was a member of the gang.

UBN, an East Coast affiliate of the better known Bloods, has strong criminal ties in Charlotte. Authorities estimate the gang has more than 460 members in Mecklenburg County.

**EDITOR'S NOTE: In the initial version of this article, we incorrectly showed a mugshot for a different Brianna Johnson. We regret this error.**

Copyright 2015 WBTV. All rights reserved.