The Harnett County Sheriff’s Office has arrested a second suspect in the murder of a Lillington man last month.
Deputies arrested Jarell Donte Ballentine, 18, of McIver Street, Angier, Monday night. He is now charged with first-degree murder, kidnapping, attempted armed robbery with a dangerous weapon and conspiracy to commit robbery.
Mr. Ballentine is the second suspect to be charged in the death of 28-year-old Kyle Jarrett. Mr. Jarrett was found dead in his house on Arlie Lane in Lillington on June 21. He had been shot several times.
Alma Isabel Correa Portillo, 17, faces the same charges. She appeared in court last week and remains held in the Harnett County Jail.
The sheriff’s office has not released information on any connections between the two suspects.
Mr. Ballentine is held with no bond set in the murder charges. His bond for the other charges totals $560,000.
When Ms. Portillo appeared in court last week, Judge Henry Willis warned her she could face lethal injection if convicted. However, he later learned she was 17 and too young to face the death penalty. You have to be at least age 18, which Mr. Ballentine is.
District Attorney Vernon Stewart said it’s too early to determine if this will be a death penalty case. There are processes that must first take place.
“That decision will be made at a Rule 24 hearing, although he is eligible,” he said.
District Court Judge Jacquelyn Lee informed Mr. Ballentine that he could face either the death penalty or life in prison without parole if convicted. She ordered that paperwork be filed asking for a court-appointed attorney who is allowed to represent suspects in capital murder cases. Mr. Ballentine is currently represented by attorney Mark Key. He will make his next appearance in court on July 24.
Harnett County Sheriff Wayne Coats and Mr. Stewart were both on hand for the hearing.
Mr. Jarrett’s family members were also on hand and had to be reprimanded by Judge Lee because of an emotional outburst when Mr. Ballentine emerged into the courtroom.