Homeless man with a mental illness sentenced to prison on two counts of murder
This afternoon in Onslow County Superior Court, Willie George Jr. age, 34 pleaded guilty by an Alford plea.
Willie George, Jr. admitted to the killings of 17-year-old Khalil Kirkland and 72-year-old Carl Eisert on the cold night of January 3, 2016.
The two victims bodies were found on Gum Branch Road in Jacksonville, NC nearly a half-mile apart on the same night.
George, Jr. pleaded guilty to two counts of second-degree murder. An Alford plea is where a suspect admits no guilt, but agrees there is enough evidence to convict him at trial.
George, Jr. suffers with bi-polar disorder and was not taking his medication during the time of these heinous acts of murder. He was also homeless and battling alcoholism. The court believes that a combination as this is lethal and lead to this terrible outcome.
In an exclusive duo-interview with DA Ernie Lee, he said there was no doubt in evidence and George admitted himself to being guilty in court as well as accepted the plea agreement on that admission of guilt.
DA Ernie Lee said there was no weapon used in the murders, “just his bare hands”, speaking of Willie George, Jr..
There is another case involving a hit and run tied to this case with another individual that is still ongoing. Second-degree murder was the original charge and has remained consistent in that throughout the course of justice through sentencing. DA Lee said there was no proof of intent of malice to try for First-degree murder, the best aligned by definition of the law and evidence founded, was second degree.
As part of the plea deal, George was sentenced to prison in the N.C. Department of Adult Corrections for a minimum of 34 and a maximum of 42 years.
Mental illness, the lack of mental health care and substance abuse was a significant part of conversations today surrounding the trial today.
The defendant and both victims had family in the courtroom for support through the final process of justice.
Footage from today’s trial proceedings:
PREVIOUS: The N.C. Fifth Prosecutorial District Attorney Ernie Lee issued a press release this afternoon stating the trial for Willie George, Jr. will begin tomorrow, Tuesday, July 9, 2019 at 2pm in Onslow County Superior Court.
George, Jr. was charged by law enforcement and indicted by the Onslow County Grand Jury with two counts of second degree murder for crimes that occurred on January 3, 2016 on Gum Branch Road in Jacksonville, NC.
The victims are Carl Joseph Eisert, age 72 and Khalil Edwin Kirkland, age 17. George, Jr. was also charged for assault on Gerard Natale in the same time period.
Kirkland was a student at Northside High School and employed at Burger King at the time of his murder.
The defendant is represented by William J. Morgan and the State is represented by District Attorney Ernie Lee and Chief ADA Michael Maultsby.
The case was investigated by the Jacksonville Police Department.