GRAHAM — A Mount Airy woman wrote her way out of four-year-old felony charges in the torching of a Green Level trailer this week in Alamance County Superior Court.

A Superior Court Judge dismissed charges of felony second-degree arson and breaking and entering against Devon Lunn, 39, of 289 Cedar Ridge Road, Mount Airy, in response to her hand-written motion for speedy trial.

Lunn was accused of setting fire to another woman’s trailer on Otter Creek Trail, Nov. 2, 2013. She was charged March 19, 2014.

Lunn made a speedy trial motion in December, according to the motion filed this week, giving the state 180 days to bring her to trial. It hasn’t. The lead officer on the case has since left the Alamance County Sheriff’s Office, and the delays have prejudiced her case, she writes, as a defense witness has since died, and two others have moved to parts unknown.

The case against Lunn, according to a search warrant application, included cellphone evidence. Her phone “pinged” a tower about a mile from the crime scene, and there was a series of more than 500 text messages, many of them threatening, between Lunn and the woman who lived in the trailer in the weeks before the break-in and fire. Investigators described the victim as a romantic rival. Someone kicked the back door of the trailer open, pushed aside a washing machine that had been set against the door, searched the house and set fire to a mattress, according to the search warrant. The door of the house was closed after the fire started, starving it of oxygen, so the trailer was damaged but nor destroyed.

Judge David Hall dismissed Lunn’s charges, Thursday Oct. 11, but she is in federal custody until 2022 on other charges.

Also in Alamance County Superior Court this week:

Ebony Nyiesha Franklin, 24, pleaded guilty to felony obstruction of justice for her role in the shooting death of Kenneth Clapp and attempted destruction of his body in 2013. She was sentenced to four years of probation.

Clapp was 47 on March 29, 2013, when Franklin’s boyfriend, Cameron Romero Graves, killed him over a drug debt with two close-range shotgun blasts in the home Graves and Franklin shared. Her two-year-old son was in the house and she was pregnant.

Graves used Franklin’s car to take Clapp’s body to an isolated spot off Louis Graham Road, where he set it on fire.

Franklin cooperated with investigators, and Graves pleaded guilty, the day his death-penalty trial was supposed to start, to a reduced charge of second-degree murder and was sentenced to 33 years to 40 years, eight months in prison. Several others have also been sentenced for their roles in Clapp’s death and the attempted cover-up.

 

Murder suspect evaluated

Prosecutors will not seek the death penalty for Jeremiah Paul Walsh, 29, charged with first-degree murder in the stabbing death of his mother, Karla Gail Arnold, 57, on Friday, April 27. The case has been designated “exceptional,” and Walsh has been ordered to Central Regional Hospital in Butner to be evaluated for his mental status and capacity to proceed with the case.

Sheriff’s deputies responded to a 911 call saying “My partner tried to kill his mother, and there was blood everywhere,” according to a search-warrant application.

They found Walsh with blood on his hands in front of the house at 2360 Freshwater Road, Lot 10, Haw River, smoking a cigarette. He admitted to stabbing Arnold. Her body was found inside with multiple stab wounds, as was a knife that been wiped off, but still had visible blood traces. She was pronounced dead at the scene.

 

Accused shooter goes it alone

Another prolific jailhouse lawyer, Christopher Lee Neal, 43, of 115 Moyer Lane, Reidsville, lost his motion this week to have charges against him dismissed in a 2017 shooting, and, after firing at least three court-appointed lawyers, says he wants to represent himself.

Neal has been jailed in Graham since July 3, 2017, on charges of discharging a weapon into an occupied vehicle and assault with a deadly weapon with intent to kill. He is suspected of firing a shot into Rockingham County Child Protective Services employee Carliethia Glover’s car at about 11:30 p.m. June 13, 2017, as she was driving on West Webb Avenue, missing her by inches. Neal’s children had been put into foster care earlier that day.

He has filed many motions, several handwritten from jail, and at least two federal lawsuits, including a speedy trial petition, motions to reduce his bond, petitions to have witnesses subpoenaed in his defense, a petition for a second probable cause hearing because only his lawyer was present at his first, motions to recuse his lawyers and a motion to have his case moved to Wake County.

Neal’s girlfriend and co-defendant has submitted an affidavit claiming she drove his car alone that night and fired the shot herself without Neal’s involvement. She blames her abuse of Percocet and the trauma of having her children taken from her home by Rockingham County Child Protective Services.

In another affidavit, Rockingham resident Alexis Slade swears Neal was at her house in Reidsville from 10:30 p.m. June 13, 2017, to 1:30 a.m., and her sister, Kelsea Ann Slade, swears Neal was with her in Myrtle Beach, S.C. June 14, 2017, to celebrate her high school graduation. He was arrested in Myrtle Beach June 15, 2017, and extradited to Alamance County.

 

Reporter Isaac Groves can be reached at igroves@thetimesnews.com or 336-506-3045. Follow him on Twitter at @tnigroves.