Local News

Robbery suspect was free after murder conviction

Posted October 20, 2009 5:48 p.m. EDT
Updated October 20, 2009 6:27 p.m. EDT

— One of three men charged in a Zebulon robbery was out of prison after serving only 17 years of a life prison sentence for second-degree murder.

Police on Monday charged Carlton Darnell Montague, 51, with robbery with a dangerous weapon and conspiracy to commit robbery with a dangerous weapon in the weekend home invasion.

Authorities say he and Marion Palmer Yarborough, 40, forced themselves inside 64-year-old Gladerene Pretty's home and took cash, jewelry and documents before fleeing. She was not physically harmed but said Tuesday she was emotionally distraught.

Investigators have also charged her foster son, Rashaad A’Keem Yarborough, 19, with conspiracy to commit robbery.

Montague, according to court records, was sentenced to life in prison in 1979 after being found guilty of second-degree murder.

According to Wake County District Attorney Colon Willoughby, state law at the time allowed for Montague to be eligible for parole after serving 10 years of his sentence. Those convicted of first-degree murder were eligible for parole after serving 20 years of their sentence.

The law changed in 1994 to define a sentence of life imprisonment as one without the possibility of parole, but it was not retroactive, according to Karl Knudsen, a former Wake County prosecutor at the time of Montague's trial.

Department of Correction records show that Marion Yarborough, Rashaad Yarborough's uncle, was released in April after serving 14 months for common-law robbery. He spent nearly 12 of the past 22 years in prison for various convictions, including armed robbery, felony breaking and entering and possession of a firearm by a felon.

The arrests come at the same time the state is scrambling to help transition into society 20 violent criminals who are set to be freed next week under a state Supreme Court ruling.

Although the circumstances surrounding the releases in those cases are different, the examples highlight the issues and concerns of criminals who offend again after being set free.

"It's an unfortunate reality that there is recidivism and that some people don't learn when they're in prison," Knudsen said. "This is one of those situations where the result of it doesn't particularly look good, but we are society of laws and the laws apply equally to the government as they do to the individual."

Marion Yarborough was being held Tuesday under a $100,000 bond, while Montague was being held under a $75,000 bond. Rashaad Yarborough was being held under a $50,000 bond.