Local News

Nash County teens face double murder charges in court

Posted July 17, 2012 12:45 p.m. EDT
Updated July 17, 2012 6:35 p.m. EDT

— Two teenagers made their first appearance in a Nash County courtroom Tuesday on murder charges in the weekend shooting deaths of one of the teen's parents.

Jacob Whitfield, 17, was arrested Saturday night on two first-degree murder charges after Whitakers police say he shot his father, Brian Whitfield, and stepmother, Charisma Whitfield, in the couple's Whitakers home.

Whitakers Police Chief Chris Wagstaff would not comment Monday on a possible motive.

Jacob Whitfield's friend, Joshua Powers, 17, was arrested on the same charges Monday afternoon.

Investigators won't say how Powers might be involved in the crimes. The pair know each other from Northern Nash High School, where Jacob Whitfield attended until he transferred in November.

Their court appearances were brief. A District Court judge ordered that they be assigned public defenders and set their next court date for Aug. 2.

"I don't have any idea how he was involved in it," Powers' mother, Debbie Scott, said after her son's court appearance Tuesday morning. "I don't know what's completely going on."

Jacob Whitfield lives with his mother, Nicole Whitfield, in Chesapeake, Va., Wagstaff said, and had been visiting his father. The family, including Whitfield's 10-year-old half-brother, had been celebrating Charisma Whitfield's 31st birthday earlier in the evening.

According to the website VisaJourney.com, Brian Whitfield, 44, and his wife, married in November 2008. Charisma Whitfield was from the Phillipines.

Nicole Whitfield, who sobbed in court, said afterward that she is in "total shock" about what happened. She said she spoke to her ex-husband on Friday and that everything seemed fine.

"I'm more than heartbroken. There's no words," she said. "I wish I could change (what happened), and I'm sure Jacob wishes that, too. Jacob was a very sweet, caring, kind, intelligent kid."

Wagstaff said Jacob Whitfield called police after the shootings but that the teenager did not admit to them.

He seemed calm, Wagstaff said, and was talking about how nice the police car was and wanted to know if he were going to get a private jail cell and good meal.

"He asked me if North Carolina had the death penalty," Wagstaff said. "I didn't respond to him."