As Onslow County continues into its post-pandemic phase, District Attorney Ernie Lee is still trying to put a dent into the backlog of pending murder cases that COVID-19 restrictions halted in the past two years.
Lee said over the next couple of weeks his office plans to schedule even more trial dates. However, scheduling can often be difficult and has a lot of moving parts as he has to speak with prosecutors and defense attorneys.
Here are the pending murder trials with scheduled start dates.
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Adolphus Earl Kimrey
A man charged in the death of 3-year-old Mariah Woods could finally stand trial this year.
Adolphus Earl Kimrey was charged on Jan. 24, 2018 with first-degree murder and felony intentional child abuse. Kimrey's arrest warrant states the defendant "intentionally" inflicted serious bodily injury on Mariah Kay Woods using chloroform.
Woods was found dead on Dec. 2, 2017, in Shelter Creek in Pender County ending a six-day search by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, United States Marine Corps, the Onslow County Sheriff's Office and volunteers.
Kimrey's trial has been moved multiple times, but Lee said the office plans to start his trial in the fall. However, he added that Kimrey's trial will be based on how things go with another murder case.
Kimrey's trial is a capital case and the DA's office is seeking the death penalty.
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Jyree Dominic Noel
Jyree Dominic Noel, of Grants Creek Road, is charged with multiple offenses in a 2017 incident.
Noel, who was 32 at the time, was arrested and charged on Dec. 22, 2017 with an open count of murder; first-degree kidnapping; felony malicious conduct by a prisoner; resisting a public officer; assault on a government official or employee; altering, stealing or destroying criminal evidence; felony possession of marijuana; and two counts of felony trafficking cocaine.
The murder charge is due to Noel allegedly shooting 39-year-old Tyrone Lamont Bailey at The Cave Gentleman's Club on Dec. 22, 2017, who died at the scene from his injuries.
Noel's trial was supposed to start in May but is now scheduled for September 26.
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Anthony Wayne Young, who was 37 at the time, is charged with one count of first-degree murder in the 2015 death of his 13-month-old daughter.
Young was arrested on May 3, 2015, and the DA's office has planned to seek the death penalty.
According to previous Daily News reporting, Onslow County Sheriff Hans Miller said Young allegedly sliced the 13-month-old's neck with a steak knife at his Richlands home, and had called 911 stating he had killed his daughter.
At the time, Miller said the 911 call was an "admission by phone" but the call lacked a motive. The sheriff's office has identified a motive, which Miller declined to reveal. He said the child was not killed in an attempt to silence her, adding he thinks there was a side of premeditation.
Young's trial was also supposed to start in May, but will now either start in August or September. Lee said the defense attorney is in Greenville, which has made scheduling difficult, but Young's case is the next one up Lee plans to do.
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Nancy Juanita Kellum, who was 37 at the time, is charged with an open count of murder after her daughter died from her allegedly supplying her with drugs in 2020.
According to prior Daily News reporting, on November 2, 2020, a warrant was obtained by the Onslow County Sheriff's Office for her arrest. Kellum surrendered herself to deputies and was taken to the Onslow County Detention Center without bond.
Deputies say on Feb. 15, 2020, they responded to Earl Place in Midway Park after receiving a call about the death of a minor. When they arrived, they found one minor overdosing on an unknown substance. First responders attempted life-saving efforts but were unsuccessful.
Investigators say Kellum had actually given two minors methamphetamine and fentanyl-laced heroin. The minor that died was found to be the biological daughter of Kellum, while the other minor was a relative.
The medical examiner's autopsy results showed the cause of death for Kellum's daughter was a lethal combined overdose of fentanyl, heroin and methamphetamine.
At the time, Kellum was charged with three counts of felony child abuse inflicting serious bodily injury in February. She was taken to the Onslow County Detention Center and placed under a $300,000 secured bond, before the charges were upgraded to murder in November of that year.
Kellum's trial, according to Lee, is set to begin on August 29.
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16 pending murder cases in need of scheduling
Lee said many other pending murder cases could be scheduled in the coming weeks.
These include Angela Olsen, charged with the murder of her one-year-old son in 2017; Travares Waters, charged with a shooting murder in 2015; Robert Ortiz, charged with murder for allegedly killing his neighbor in 2019 by stabbing him 32 times; and Jordan Meade, charged with three counts of murder in the shooting deaths of his grandparents and mother in 2020.
Other pending murder cases include Saundra Wagner from 2019, Derrick Bennett from 2019, Tyquan Hayes from 2019, Richardo Montesinos from 2019, Thomas McCaskill from 2020, Khalil Savage from 2020, Darwin Robinson from 2021, Melissa Tobarsalas from 2021, Michael Jackson from 2021, Montavous Bowen from 2021, John McCoy from early 2022, and most recently, Michael Watson from June.
Reporter Morgan Starling can be reached at email@example.com
This article originally appeared on The Daily News: Onslow County murder trials nearing start dates, including Earl Kimrey