As Johnston County authorities continue their investigation of a double homicide earlier this month, additional details surrounding the incident have emerged.
Matthew Jones, 30, and Jessica Pyatte, 24, both of Newton Grove, were found shot to death inside a mobile home along the 100 block of Unity Drive in southern Johnston County on March 10.
According to initial reports, Mr. Jones’ fiancé discovered the bodies after not hearing from him for an extended period. Mr. Jones’ 2-year-old child was also found inside the residence unharmed and was placed with family members.
A week later, Gerald Thomas Paul Jr., 21, of Erwin and Tara Nicole Wilson, 19, of Orange Avenue, Dunn, were arrested and now face murder charges.
Mr. Paul was in the Harnett County Jail when the murder warrants were served against him. According to court records, he has been in jail since March 12 on a methamphetamine possession charge. Ms. Wilson was charged with accessory after the fact of murder.
The Johnston County Sheriff’s Office has remained tight-lipped concerning a motive in the shooting, but search warrants for the home at Unity Drive and a vehicle reportedly driven by Mr. Paul provide some pieces to a larger puzzle.
The warrant to search the vehicle — a white 1992 Chevrolet Camaro that Mr. Paul was allegedly “test driving” on the night of the murders — sheds the most light on the situation.
A neighbor near the home told authorities they remembered a loud vehicle leaving the scene “in a hurry” around 1:30 a.m. on March 10.
It was also noted that investigators learned Mr. Paul and Ms. Wilson were living with Mr. Jones on Unity Drive.
Detectives interviewed a man that reportedly dropped Ms. Pyatte off at the home around 12:30 a.m. The man told deputies that when he arrived at Unity Drive with Ms. Pyatte, Mr. Jones informed him that, “Tara was inside the residence as well,” alluding to the fact that the two women “did not get along.” The man spoke with Mr. Jones who said “he wouldn’t let anything happen to Jessica,” the warrant notes.
Investigators also traveled to Erwin in an attempt to locate Mr. Paul and Ms. Wilson. They visited his mother’s North 12th Street address where he was arrested on prior warrants for meth possession. Mr. Paul refused to speak with detectives about the murder case.
Investigators also located Ms. Wilson, who told them her brother had picked her up from the Unity Drive location on the night of March 9. “Upon further investigation, detectives learned this information was not true. Tara also admitted to detectives she did in fact live at (Unity Drive) with her boyfriend (Mr. Paul) and friend (Mr. Jones),” the warrant detailed.
In addition, inside the vehicle in question was found — a pair of gloves, flex cuffs, a drink bottle, cigarettes and three cell phones were seized as evidence from inside the Camaro.
The search warrant for the mobile home includes information from the initial discovery of Mr. Jones and Ms. Pyatte’s bodies.
Deputies entering the home first noticed a motionless Ms. Pyatte “slightly slumped” in a chair with “an apparent gunshot wound to her left leg and blood on her face.” Mr. Jones was close by, also in chair with a gunshot wound “to his face.”
EMS responded a short time later, the warrant details, but the two were verified as deceased on the scene.
Several items were seized from the home as evidence including fired cartridge cases, cell phones, shotgun shells, dry wall fragments, recliner fabric and cigarettes.
‘A Bad Influence’
In July of last year, Mr. Paul and Ms. Wilson were arrested on methamphetamine charges at the home of Mr. Paul’s mother in Erwin.
Police reportedly found several bags of methamphetamine — totaling 2 grams — and drug paraphernalia in his room. A plastic bag containing meth was found on Ms. Wilson’s person.
Just a month before her run-in with Erwin Police, Ms. Wilson, then 18 years old, was celebrating her graduation as valedictorian from Dunn’s Faith Education Academy.
“Tara was a wonderful student here,” said Faith Education Academy co-owner Teresa Jones on Monday. “But sometimes, the outside world is just a bad influence on people.”
“We loved her as a student and we still love her,” she added. Story courtesy The Daily Record