Local News

Slain Naval Reservist's Wife Will Face Death Penalty

Posted January 26, 2006

— Wake County prosecutors will pursue the death penalty against a woman whose naval reservist husband was shot to death in a Raleigh park last month.

Police said Monique Berkley, 26, of Clayton, admitted to plotting to kill her husband, Paul Berkley, 46, to get collect on his life insurance.

In the early-morning hours of Dec. 18, Monique Berkley called 911 to report that two men shot her and her husband on a pathway at Millbrook Exchange Park. Paul Berkley was shot in the head and later died at WakeMed. Monique Berkley sustained a gunshot wound to the shoulder.

Upon further investigation, police linked two men, Andrew Deshawn Canty and Latwon Darrell Johnson, both 18, to the shootings and charged them with first-degree murder. Berkley, while recovering from her wounds in the hospital, was also arrested and charged with first-degree murder.

If convicted, Canty and Johnson will also face the death penalty.

Berkley's neighbors said she had been romantically involved with Canty and that the two were living together at her home while her husband was overseas.

Police said Paul Berkley suspected that his wife was having an affair, and that he told his daughter that he planned to divorce his wife. That is when, Raleigh police Sgt. J.C. Perry said, Monique Berkley allegedly put the plot to kill her husband in motion.

Investigators said Berkley promised her husband, who had just returned from serving in the Middle East, a "romantic interlude" at the park after dinner and a movie.

"The original plan called for Monique Berkley to be beaten," Perry told the news media on Dec. 22. "This would be done to cover up her involvement in the crime."

Perry, however, did not comment on why she had been shot, instead.

Wake County District Attorney Colon Willoughby said in December that he was not ruling out the possibility of more suspects or more charges in the case.

Berkley, Canty and Johnson are in the Wake County Jail being held without bond.

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