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Arrests in Lake Wylie killings give neighbors ‘sense of relief’

The Tioga Road neighborhood in Lake Wylie is breathing easier, one resident says, after Friday’s announcement by York County authorities and the FBI that two people had been arrested in an October home invasion and double murder that left the community unsettled.

The arrests last week of a North Carolina man and woman in the killings of Doug and Debbie London gave neighbors “a sense of relief,” one woman said. She asked to not be identified on Saturday morning when interviewed by The Herald. Her home is less than one mile from 5010 Tioga Road, where the Londons lived with their adult son.

The woman, a mother of two children, ages 12 and 14, said she and her husband were home but didn’t see or hear anything unusual on Oct. 23 when the Londons were shot in what police say was a targeted killing. Police say the investigation into the Londons’ killings is connected to the investigation into a robbery of the couple at their Charlotte mattress store in May.

In the mattress store armed robbery, Doug London shot and injured one of the suspected robbers. Family members have said that he died in October with a gun in his hand, defending his family in his home.

The FBI is involved in both cases but officials have declined to say whether the suspects in each case are connected with each other. The three men accused of taking part in the May robbery were arrested. Two were in jail at the time of the murder. Another was out of jail but wearing an electronic monitoring device.

The neighbor who spoke with The Herald says she was shocked to hear that court documents indicate one of the Charlotte robbery suspects has a gang affiliation.

Police have charged Malcolm Jarrell Hartley, 21, of Charlotte, and Brianna Shakeyah Johnson, 18, of Concord, with two counts of murder in the Londons’ case.

Since the night of the murder, the York County Sheriff’s Office has assured the community that the general public was safe even though the case was unsolved for nearly five months. Still, the Londons’ neighbor said some fear remains “at the back of your mind” until an arrest is made.

She remembers seeing Debbie London going to and from home on Tioga Road, riding in the car with her two small dogs in her lap. The Londons were retired, welcoming, and active volunteers around Lake Wylie, she said. Once, when a neighbor was locked out of her house, Debbie London invited the woman inside her home for lunch until someone came with a spare key.

“She was always looking out for everybody.”

Local authorities are waiting to find out whether Hartley, being held in Charlotte on a fugitive warrant, will fight an extradition request, a sheriff’s office spokesman said on Saturday.

Johnson is being held at the York County Detention Center in York. Her bond was denied last week.

Many details about the October murder have not yet been released, with York County Sheriff’s Office representatives saying the incident is still under investigation. Spokesman Trent Faris said on Saturday that the office plans to release Hartley and Johnson’s arrest warrants later this week.