Local News

Man charged with killing wife, stepdaughter appears in court after extradition

Posted September 8, 2015 5:03 a.m. EDT
Updated September 8, 2015 5:32 p.m. EDT

Billy Jo McLean

— A Sanford man charged with killing his wife and stepdaughter two months ago made his first appearance in a Lee County courtroom Tuesday after being extradited from Texas to North Carolina.

Firefighters found the bodies of Calandra McLean and her 13-year-old daughter, Tashonna Cameron, inside the family's 916 Clark Circle home on July 13 after extinguishing a blaze in the home.

A nationwide search ensued for Billy Jo McLean, 54, who was arrested four days later at a motel in the Texas Panhandle. His 17-year-old stepson, Tobias McLean, who had walked to a nearby diner while Billy Jo McLean slept, learned from Facebook about the deaths of his mother and sister and the manhunt for his stepfather and asked diner employees to call 911.

On Tuesday, the victims' family was in the courtroom to see McLean for the first time since the crimes.

"I knew I was going to feel sad about it," said Michelle Underwood. "I really didn't want to see him, but we have to get justice done."

Sandra Steadman said seeing McLean opened wounds that were beginning to heal for the entire family. She said she worries what effect seeing McLean could have on her nephew.

"If he has to come and testify, it might stir up some things for Tobias," she said. "Ever since Tobias has been back he is sort of like a young man now. He knows he has to step in and take care of himself now that his mom and sister are gone."

Billy Jo McLean fought extradition to North Carolina, which delayed his return to face the charges. He was returned to the Lee County jail over the weekend and was arraigned on two counts of first-degree murder.