DAVIS CONVICTED IN CARTERET DOUBLE MURDER
Beaufort, North Carolina – District Attorney Scott Thomas announced that, in Carteret County Superior Court today, JHADEN AUSTIN DAVIS, 26, formerly of Camp Lejeune, was convicted by a jury of two counts of First-Degree Murder. Superior Court Judge W. Douglas Parsons presided over this trial.
The case was prosecuted in court by Assistant District Attorney David Spence, assisted by Victim-Witness Legal Assistant Michelle Gillikin. The Carteret County Sheriff’s Office investigated the case, led by Chief Detective Jason Wank, with assistance from: the United States Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, and the Naval Criminal Investigative Service.
On the evening of Saturday, June 2, 2012, Davis and his roommate, Joseph Pirrotta, left their apartment in Beaufort to find Albert Correll, an acquaintance, to rob him, because Davis believed that Albert Correll’s girlfriend had stolen money from Davis. Davis was a Navy corpsman, and Pirrotta was a former corpsman, having been discharged the month before for drug use. Davis was armed with a Ruger .40 caliber pistol. The two spotted Albert Correll and his father, Duane Correll, driving on Highway 70 near the Morehead City high-rise bridge. They followed the Corrells to their residence on Taylor Farm road, and boxed them into an area in front of their trailer. Davis approached Albert Correll, and pistol-whipped him until he fell to the ground. Duane Correll shouted at Davis to stop, and Davis shot Duane Correll in the chest. He then turned the gun to Albert Correll and shot him twice as he lay on the ground.
Pirrotta was unaware that Davis had brought a gun to the scene, and ran away at the first shot. Davis caught up to him with the vehicle, and the two drove back to their apartment in Beaufort. Davis had stolen Albert Correll’s wallet, and after taking the cash out, handed it to Pirrotta, who threw it out the window. When they got to the apartment, they told Brandon Smallwood, also a Navy corpsman, to drive Davis back toward Camp Lejeune. Albert Correll’s girlfriend quickly notified a deputy that she thought Davis had been involved in the murders of the Corrells.
Davis disposed of the gun, telling a witness that he had thrown it in the ocean. The gun was found, completely by coincidence, by a diver under the Emerald Isle bridge, three years after the murders. Although the serial number had been partially removed, ballistics testing confirmed it was the firearm used in the murders.
Judge Parsons sentenced Davis to two consecutive sentences of life in prison without the possibility of parole, as required by law.
Joseph Pirrotta pled guilty to two counts of Accessory After the Fact to First- Degree Murder pursuant to a plea agreement which called for him to testify at Davis’ trial, and to be sentenced to consecutive prison terms totaling 120 to 164 months (10 to 13 years). Brandon Smallwood testified without a plea agreement, and his charges of two counts of Accessory After the Fact remain pending.
The trial began on July 17, with jury selection, and the State rested its case on July 27. The defendant presented no evidence during trial, and did not testify. The jury deliberated for approximately one hour before returning its verdict.
District Attorney Scott Thomas said, “The jury listened to the evidence in this case and appropriately found Davis guilty of two counts of first-degree murder. These crimes of violence were planned and carried out by Davis. Our thoughts and prayers continue to be with the Correll family who lost two members of their family. The Corrells have been very helpful and supportive as this case has moved through the criminal court process. Sheriff Buck’s staff and assisting agencies did a great job in investigating these murders. Assistant District Attorney David Spence invested his time and talents in preparing this case for trial and presenting the evidence to the jury.”
Carteret County Sheriff Asa Buck added, “I am very pleased the jury came back with a guilty verdict. This verdict provides justice for the victims and their families and hopefully will bring some amount of closure to this sad and completely unwarranted chapter in their lives. I would like to thank all who worked so hard on this case from the very start through today; they include numerous deputy sheriffs, police officers, federal agents and members of District Attorney Scott Thomas’ office. Most especially, I’d like to recognize Chief Detective Jason Wank who was the lead detective from our office, and ADA Dave Spence who prosecuted the case. Everyone worked together as a team and presented a very strong case for prosecution.”