Three suspects in father-son case have court appearance; remain in jail custody

District Court Judge Karen Alexander oversees court proceedings Monday during the first appearances of three people facing charges related to the murder of Albert and Duane Correll. (Dylan Ray photo)

BEAUFORT — The murder of a father and son just outside the town’s limits stemmed from a previous altercation in May over money, according to the County Sheriff’s Department.

The department held a press conference Monday, giving a few more details about the double homicide committed June 2. The three suspects facing charges in the crime had their first court appearance prior to the conference.

Detectives believe Jhaden Davis, 21, an active duty Navy corpsman assigned to Barracks 121 aboard Camp Lejeune, shot and killed Albert Correll, 20, and his father Duane Correll, 50, outside their residence on Taylor Farm Road. Mr. Davis was allegedly accompanied by Joseph Pirrotta, 24, of 1300 Ann St. in Beaufort. The Navy recently dishonorably discharged Mr. Pirrotta, according to the Naval Criminal Investigative Service.

According to Capt. Jason Wank, chief detective with the department, the two defendants intended to rob Albert Correll of his wallet and money. The captain said they waited near the Taylor Farm Road residence for the victims to return from shopping at Walmart in Morehead City, and then followed them home.

Mr. Davis and Albert Correll were apparently familiar with each other. Capt. Wank said there was a previous altercation in May between Albert Correll, a third party and Mr. Davis over money, in which money was allegedly stolen from Mr. Davis. The captain said he couldn’t specify an amount as the investigation is still ongoing, but the third party is believed to have taken the money. Albert Correll was apparently a go-between in the situation, Capt. Wank said.

Mr. Davis allegedly shot the two victims with a .40-caliber handgun. Mr. Davis and Mr. Pirrotta then allegedly fled the scene in a borrowed Toyota Corolla and went to Mr. Pirrotta’s residence, where they met the third defendant, Brandon Smallwood, 23. Mr. Smallwood is also an active Navy corpsman assigned to Camp Lejeune. He is charged with providing false alibis for the other two suspects.

Capt. Wank said Mr. Pirrotta and Mr. Davis had a .40-caliber weapon prior to the shooting, which is no longer in their possession. Authorities have not recovered the murder weapon and believe it may be difficult to do so.

Albert Correll’s wallet was recovered near the scene.

In the days after the murders, the three suspects were interviewed several times and all gave false information, Capt. Wank said. On Thursday, the sheriff’s department presented the District Attorney’s Office with its evidence and, with the assistance of NCIS agents from Camp Lejeune and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Fire and Explosives, made the arrests early Friday.

After the arrests, Mr. Smallwood and Mr. Pirrotta both cooperated with law enforcement, according to Capt. Wank.

Mr. Davis and Mr. Pirrotta have been charged with two counts of murder, one count of armed robbery and one count of conspiracy to commit robbery. The maximum penalties include life in prison without parole and death. Both are being held in the county jail without bond.

Mr. Smallwood is charged with two counts of accessory after the fact. He faces up to 20 years in prison and is being held on a $1 million bond.

All three were brought into the courtroom one at a time wearing bright orange jail jumpsuits, with their arms and legs in cuffs. All three requested court-appointed attorneys, though Mr. Smallwood originally requested a military attorney.

Mr. Davis will be represented by Richard McNeil of McNeil and Associates of Jacksonville. Mr. Pirrotta will be represented by William Gerrans of Gerrans, Foster and Sargeant PA of Kinston. Mr. Smallwood’s attorney was not known at presstime.

Joe Kennedy, special agent with the NCIS, commended Sheriff Asa Buck and his detectives for their work in the case. “My hat’s off to the sheriff and his team here,” he said. “This team came together like a well-oiled machine.”

Sheriff Buck also thanked those involved in the investigation, including the Beaufort Police Department, the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department, the NCIS and the ATF. “We appreciate them very much and thank them for their efforts,” he said.

Gina Correll, mother of Albert Correll, sat weeping through the court appearance and attended the press conference, but did not make any public statements.

The three defendants are scheduled to make their next court appearance July 6.

(4) comments

Joe

Anchorchain posted on Wed. June 6, 2012 that "There is little hope Barney Buck and friends will be able to handle this" and "Real criminals cannot be caugt by this sheriff." WELL I GUESS YOU WERE WRONG ANCHORCHAIN. Are you man enough to write a retraction. Probably not. Hats off to the Sheriff's office, NCIS and ATF. Great Job!

CARTERETISCORRUPT

It is interesting that the defendants are represented by attorneys not from this county (this is a good thing).

The NCIS Agent named Joe Kennedy, is this the Joe Kennedy that is the asst. district attorney here?

It would be better if this trial was moved to another county, for obvious reasons.

These men are considered innocent until proven guilty by a properly seated jury, beyond a reasonable doubt. Therein is the problem.

I am sad for the deaths, but equally sad these men face carteret county justice.

CARTERETISCORRUPT

Joe, I see your post, and what the person called anchorchain stated. This is interesting. It is highly probable that the ATF and NCIS are responsible for this case. An arrest is not a conviction, and you of all people should know this. But then justice is not your concern.

Joe

Carteretiscorrupt, I guess your just one of the few Sheriff Buck haters. What is it that his team did wrong?

For your information NCIS and ATF did not have jurisdiction in the case. The crime occurred in Carteret County so therefore the law enforcement agency where the crime occurred has jurisdiction. As stated in the article, their agents assisted in the investigation. As stated, it was a collaborative effort between numerous agencies to include Beaufort PD, Charlotte-Mecklinburg PD and Florence, SC PD. It is unfortunate that you can not give credit to the hard working personnel of the Sheriff's Office who conducted the investigation and solved the case.

Welcome to the discussion.

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