A North Carolina man shot his former employee to death after an attempt to pick up his paycheck. Now, he will never walk free again.
Last month, Carteret County Superior Court Judge Thomas R. Wilson sentenced Patrick Keith Reich Whitley, 28, to life in prison without the possibility of parole for the shooting death of Carl Jones, Jr.
Though Whitley initially pleaded not guilty and opted for a trial, he later admitted to the killing by accepting a plea deal. He was convicted of first-degree murder and first-degree arson.
On Jan. 9, 2020, police officers and the Fire Service Department responded to 107 Melanie St in Emerald Isle, North Carolina, after Whitley reportedly called 911. He told authorities someone had thrown gasoline into his house, and he had fatally shot the intruder in self-defense.
Upon arrival and putting the fire out, first responders found Jones’ body and established the fire had been set intentionally. In addition, several Molotov cocktails and eight spent shells were also discovered in the home.
According to prosecutors, video footage from security cameras showed Jones being dropped off at the residence without possessing any gasoline bottle, as described by Whitley. In addition, witnesses testify to hearing gunshots minutes after the victim arrived at the home.
Later, investigators discovered Jones, who was a former employee of the defendant, had been at the location to collect his paycheck.
An autopsy report established the victim had suffered four gunshot wounds to the neck and torso.
As a result, Whitley was arrested by U.S. Marshalls without incident in Corpus Christi, Texas, after he was indicted for the homicide. At the time, the 25-year-old defendant was held without bond, reported The Daily News.
“I appreciate the great work of ADAs Ashley Eatmon, David Spence, Legal Assistant Michelle Gillikin and the entire prosecution and law enforcement team on this case. Their preparation and presentation led to the defendant pleading guilty prior to the close of the state’s case," said Craven County District Attorney Scott Thomas, according to Sun Journal.