Chapel Hill News

January 8, 2014

Orange County DA won’t seek death penalty in 2012 double homicide

Nearly two years after a double homicide in northern Orange County, the district attorney’s office announced Wednesday the men charged won’t face the death penalty.

Nearly two years after a double homicide in northern Orange County, the district attorney’s office announced Wednesday the men charged won’t face a possible death penalty.

Curtis Kantawiti White Jr., 20, of 5922 Allie Mae Road in Cedar Grove, and Ladell Alverez Faucette, 24, of 5138 Apsley Drive in McLeansville, are charged with two counts of first-degree murder and two counts of robbery with a dangerous weapon in the Jan. 25, 2012, deaths of Phillip Johnson, 52, and Alexander “Skip” Wade, 68.

White and Faucette confessed to the murders shortly after being arrested, according to a State Bureau of Investigation search warrant. They also are charged with one count each of conspiracy to commit robbery with a dangerous weapon.

“I talked to the family representatives in these cases, and in most cases, there is some disagreement but the decision has been made that these will proceed (as) noncapital (cases),” Orange County District Attorney Jim Woodall said.

Trials for both men could start this summer, Woodall said. The only possible punishment if they are convicted on first-degree murder charges would be life in prison.

Wade was a retired investigator with the Orange County Sheriff’s Office, with more than 20 years of service. Johnson ran the Week in Treasures thrift store on Mill Creek Road in Cedar Grove, where the shooting happened.

Sheriff’s deputies responding to a 911 call found Johnson, the store’s owner, dead from multiple gunshot wounds. Wade was breathing but unconscious and died a short time later at Duke Hospital.

According to SBI special agent Brian Fleming, officers found White and Faucette on the scene and later interviewed them but were given “inconsistent statements.” White’s father later handed his .22-caliber semi-automatic handgun to investigators, saying his son had the weapon earlier on the day of the shooting.

Experts at the state crime laboratory have confirmed the shell casings found at the scene came from White’s gun.

At the time of their arrest, Faucette and White were on probation for other crimes. Faucette was sentenced to three years in January 2011 after being convicted in Alamance County of stealing a motor vehicle. White was sentenced in August to 18 months after an Orange County conviction for misdemeanor possession of stolen goods and possessing drug paraphernalia. Both sentences were suspended pending community service and probation.

Faucette was serving 90 days in the Alamance County jail for a probation violation when he was arrested.

Johnson’s store also was the site of a 2004 murder. Bill King, who operated the then-bait and tackle shop and country store, was shot and killed during a robbery. His murder was never solved.

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