Kenly Man Sentenced To Life In Prison For Double Murder

Matthew Jones and Jessica Pyatte were shot to death March 10, 2016 inside this mobile home on Unity Drive, Newton Grove in southern Johnston County. 2016 Johnston County Report Photo

NEWTON GROVE – A Kenly man will spend the rest of his life in prison for his role in a 2016 double homicide in southern Johnston County. A Johnston County Jury found Jeremy Kyle Price guilty of two counts of first degree murder after a week-long trial that started June 27, 2022.

On March 10, 2016, Matthew Jones and Jessica Pyatte were shot to death inside a singlewide mobile home on Unity Drive, Newton Grove. Mr. Jones’ two year-old child was found inside the residence unharmed and was placed with family members.

Autopsy reports indicated two different weapons were used in the fatal shootings. Pyatte, 24, was shot seven times. Jones, 30, died from gunshot wounds to the head.

After the guilty verdict was handed down by the jury, Superior Court Judge William D. Wolfe sentenced Jeremy Price to consecutive prison terms of life without parole.

Assistant District Attorney Paul Jackson said, “The District Attorney’s Office is pleased with the verdicts and appreciates the Jurors’ thoughtful hard work in this case. We also want to thank the Johnson County Sheriff‘s Office for the thorough and professional investigation that made these verdicts possible. We hope the verdicts will bring some measure of justice and closure to the victims’ families.“

In April 2021, a co-defendant, Gerald Thomas Paul Jr. of Erwin pled guilty to two counts of second-degree murder. He was sentenced to a minimum of 18 years 6 months to a maximum of 23 years 4 months in prison.

A third person, Tara Nicole Wilson of Dunn, had been charged with accessory after the fact for withholding information from law enforcement. Wilson testified at trial and cooperated fully with prosecutors. Because of her full cooperation and the extreme duress and fear she was under immediately after the crimes, the District Attorney’s Office dismissed her charges.

In June 2015, Gerald Thomas Paul Jr. and Tara Nicole Wilson were arrested on methamphetamine charges in Erwin. A month earlier, in May 2015, Ms. Wilson graduated as valedictorian from a private Harnett County school.

Related Articles:

Defendant Pleads Guilty To Johnston County Double Murder

Autopsy: Murdered Woman Shot 7 Times

Search Warrants Provide New Details In Double Murder

Names Of Double Murder Victims Released


  1. I am not sure they have the right guy in jail. Who goes from a few misdeameanor posssession charges and one dui to murder? Especially way in another part of the county, if even in joco, where they are not known to hang around? Granted , I knew him as a young boy and somewhat into young adulthood. Know his extended family much better. It just doesnt make sense….but I did not attend the trial. To his parents and brother,and his aunts and uncles and cousins that I do know – I am so sorry. I don’t know if he is guilty or innocent, but I just can’t believe he would do something like this. (And, no I don’t use my real name on here so they won’t know who I am, but if I happen to run into any of yall in town, I will give you a hug.) To the family of the two murder victims, I am sorry for your loss as well and hope the two year old child has no memory of this event. I live no where near where the murder took place, so I have no information to offer, then or now – but I truly hope an innocent person is not in prison. If he was inviolved, the he is where he needs to be. I hope all familes can now heal, if that is even possible. This trial took many years to even happen, so it was a long drawn our ordeal that all had to live with hanging over their heads and hearts. This was a horrendous murder that is why I truly hope they have the correct people in jail. Letting the girl off scott free should not have been allowed though if she was involved in any way. Gives her too much leeway to not be truthful…..valedictorian or not.

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