Local News

Second teen charged in Nash County double slaying

Posted July 16, 2012 12:11 p.m. EDT
Updated July 16, 2012 9:19 p.m. EDT

— As police continue investigating what led a birthday celebration to turn violent over the weekend, they charged a second teenager Monday with murder in the case.

Investigators arrested Jacob Whitfield, 17, Saturday night on two charges of first-degree murder after he allegedly shot and killed his father and stepmother in their Nash County home.

Whitfield's friend, Joshua Powers, 17, was also charged with two counts of murder Monday afternoon, Police Chief Chris Wagstaff said.

He would not say how Powers might have been involved in the shooting, nor would he comment on a possible motive.

He did say that Whitfield called 911 to report the shootings and then asked, after his arrest, whether North Carolina has a death penalty.

"I didn't respond to him," Wagstaff said.

Officers responding to a 911 call around 11:30 p.m. Saturday found the bodies of Brian Whitfield, 44, and Charisma Whitfield, 31, upstairs in their Whitakers home, at 503 W. Taylor St.

Jacob Whitfield had been visiting from Virginia, where he lives with his mother, Wagstaff said, and the family had been to dinner in Rocky Mount earlier in the evening to celebrate Charisma Whitfield's birthday.

Wagstaff said Jacob Whitfield was calm when police arrived and that, when he was taken into custody, he talked about how nice the police car was.

Whitfield also wanted to know whether he was going to have a nice jail cell, a place to sleep and a good meal, Wagstaff said.

The teen is being held in isolation at the Nash County jail and will appear in court Tuesday, Wagstaff said.

Saturday shootings are only the second homicide case in the town in the last 10 years.

Wagstaff called it one of the most disturbing cases he's seen in his 20-year law enforcement career.

People who know the family say they can't believe it.

"It's just troubling to know that every time I look out my window now, I see that (house) as a grave," neighbor Charice Rosser said. "They were murdered there."

Jacob Whitfield attended Northern Nash High School until he transferred last year. Former classmates have said he was quiet and kept to himself.

"He was smart, in honors classes. He made A's and B's," former classmate Taquan Stokes said. "We were in English 10 together. Matter of fact, he helped me with my work."