Fury as prosecutors eye juvenile charges for 17-year-old who gunned down two teens in North Carolina

Fury as prosecutors eye juvenile charges for 17-year-old who gunned down two teenagers in North Carolina woods: Family says situation is a ‘living nightmare’ as suspect STILL on the run

  • Lyric Woods, 14, and Devin Clark, 18, disappeared on Friday and were found dead on Sunday, on a country trail, with gunshot injuries
  • No one has been arrested, but on Tuesday, the sheriff of Orange County announced a 17-year-old would be charged with two counts of murder
  • The teenager would be initially charged as a juvenile, but if they are charged with first-degree murder the case would automatically move to adult court
  • Woods’ grandfather Stan Dean offered $10,000 reward for the arrest of the person responsible, and said he was living a ‘nightmare’

A North Carolina sheriff investigating the murder of two teenagers found gunned down on a woodland trail has announced charges against a 17-year-old, and said the suspect – when arrested – would be charged as a juvenile.

Lyric Woods, 14, and 18-year-old Devin Clark were last seen on Friday in Orange County, west of Durham.

The bodies of the pair were discovered at the weekend on a woodland trail with gunshot wounds.

On Tuesday, Charles Blackwood, the sheriff, said that the search for the suspect was continuing, but charges had been filed.

They would initially be charged as a juvenile thanks to a 2019 law, which stated that 16 and 17-year-olds would avoid adult charges. If the person is then charged with first degree murder, the case would automatically move to adult courts.

Lyric Woods, 14, was last seen on Friday, and her body was identified on Sunday

Devin Clark, 18, also vanished on Friday night

Lyric Woods, 14, (left) and 18-year-old Devin Clark were last seen on Friday. Their bodies were confirmed to have been found on Sunday 

Family members from both victims have visited the site where their children were found dead, less than two miles from Woods' home

Family members from both victims have visited the site where their children were found dead, less than two miles from Woods’ home

‘Through the hard work of my investigators, along with the assistance of personnel from many other law enforcement agencies, we have identified a suspect in this case,’ said Blackwood. 

Charles Blackwood, Orange County sheriff

Charles Blackwood, Orange County sheriff

‘We will now work with local, state, and federal authorities to apprehend and present the suspect to the court system.’

He added: ‘I want to thank the families of Devin Clark and Lyric Woods for trusting us and the investigative process during this excruciatingly painful time. 

‘I hope the imminent apprehension of this subject will bring them some comfort as they mourn their loved ones.’

The suspect has not been named.

Stan Dean, Woods’ grandfather, has offered a $10,000 reward for information leading to the capture of the 17-year-old suspect. 

‘I’m living a nightmare,’ he told the News & Observer.

Dean told the newspaper he had laid a cross with lights on it at the spot where his granddaughter’s body was found, because she ‘was afraid of the dark.’ 

Stan Dean, Woods' grandfather, crafted a cross surrounded by flowers and put it where her body was found, with lights, because his granddaughter was 'afraid of the dark'

Stan Dean, Woods’ grandfather, crafted a cross surrounded by flowers and put it where her body was found, with lights, because his granddaughter was ‘afraid of the dark’

Woods was friends with Clark, whose body was found alongside hers

Woods was friends with Clark, whose body was found alongside hers

Locals reacted with anger to Blackwood’s announcement that the 17-year-old would be charged with a juvenile. Blackwood did not clarify that the suspect would be tried in adult court if subsequent charges were filed.

‘This person murdered 2 people!! Said person should be tried as an adult!’ wrote one on Facebook.

‘The law needs to be changed, this 17 year old knew exactly what he/she was doing. Old enough to point the gun and take two lives, old enough to pay the consequences. No excuses,’ said another.

Another commented: ‘Great work OCSD, now the court system needs to do their job that person should never see the outside of a prison again be under trial as an adult and possibly the death penalty….those kids deserve it!!’

Several said the teenager should face the death penalty if convicted. 

North Carolina has the death penalty, but the last person executed was in 2006. No one has been sentenced to death in the state since 2019. 

‘The 17 year old knew right from wrong and had no business with a gun, so his parents need to be held accountable as well,’ said one. 

‘He needs to be charged as an adult and put in prison for life! The death penalty isn’t good enough for what he did.’

Another added: ‘Tried as a juvenile? Death penalty or life isnt enough for the pain both sets of parents will do life from here on out with because of this crime taken out on their kids. 

‘Death here should be as close as it can be to the pain these kids went through.’

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