BEAUFORT — Three men accused of playing a role in the murder of a father and son just outside town limits appeared in district court Monday for their first hearing.
The County Sheriff’s Department also released some more details about the case, which according to authorities revolved around a previous altercation in May between one of the victims and a defendant over money.
Detectives believe Jhaden Davis, 21, an active Navy corpsman assigned to Barracks 121 aboard USMC Camp Lejeune, shot and killed Albert Correll, 20, and his father Duane Correll, 50, outside their residence June 2 on Taylor Farm Road. He was allegedly accompanied by Joseph Pirrotta, 24, of 1300 Ann St. in Beaufort. Mr. Pirrotta is a recently discharged Navy corpsman.
The County Sheriff’s Department held a press conference following the hearing and according to Capt. Jason Wank, chief detective with the department, the two defendants intended to rob Albert Correll. The captain said they waited for the victims to return home from shopping at Walmart near the Taylor Farm residence.
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 accused of taking the money.
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 authorities have not recovered the 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 form Camp Lejeune and the ATF, made the arrests early Friday.
After the arrests, Mr. Smallwood and Mr. Pirrotta both cooperated with law enforcement.
Mr. Davis and Mr. Pirrotta have been charged with two counts of murder, one count of armed robber and one county of conspiracy to commit robbery. The maximum penalties include life in prison without parole and death. Both are being held 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.
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.”
Gina Correll, mother of Albert Correll, sat weeping through the court appearance and attended the press conference, but did not comment.
The three defendants are scheduled to make their next court appearance July 6.