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FRANKLINTON: Neighbor says murder suspect 'loved his family' - Greenville, NC | News | Weather | Sports - WNCT.com

Neighbor says Franklinton double murder suspect 'loved his family'

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16-year-old Brianna "B.B." Nicole Jones and her mother, 37-year-old Akesia Michelle Toney, were found shot to death on the bathroom floor of Akesia's Franklinton home. 16-year-old Brianna "B.B." Nicole Jones and her mother, 37-year-old Akesia Michelle Toney, were found shot to death on the bathroom floor of Akesia's Franklinton home.
Ricky Junior Toney, 34, was shot and killed by a Vance County deputy after resisting arrest in connection with a double homicide. Ricky Junior Toney, 34, was shot and killed by a Vance County deputy after resisting arrest in connection with a double homicide.
Joey Kearney, 16, was charged with two counts of murder in connection with the deaths of Akesia Toney and Brianna Jones. Joey Kearney, 16, was charged with two counts of murder in connection with the deaths of Akesia Toney and Brianna Jones.
FRANKLINTON, N.C. -

A family and community are still trying to figure out how things spiraled out of control Tuesday, leaving a mother and her 16-year-old daughter dead.

Tuesday morning, a Franklin County sheriff's deputy found 37-year-old Akesia Michelle Toney and her 16-year-old daughter, Brianna "B.B." Nicole Jones, shot to death on the bathroom floor of Akesia's Franklinton home.

The deputy was dispatched to the home on West River Road around 2:30 a.m. after law enforcement received a disturbing 911 call that abruptly ended with a woman pleading "Don't hurt me, don't hurt me." When he arrived, Deputy Ivan Jones discovered broken glass in the master bedroom of the mobile home and blood pooling under the bathroom door.

A car belonging to Akesia's estranged husband, Ricky Junior Toney, was also found discovered at the home and her Volkswagen Passat was missing. It would be that missing car that would eventually lead Vance County Deputy Kenneth R. Wood to Toney and his little brother, Joey Kearney, around 8 hours after the initial disturbance call was made.

After spotting Akesia's Passat, Wood stopped Kearney and Toney on Smith Road on the edge of Vance, Warren and Franklin Counties. Toney resisted arrest and was shot and killed by Wood, and Kearney sustained a gunshot wound and was later arrested.

"They turned around and charged full speed back toward the deputy, [and] had a wreck -- just like a highway wreck -- on a path. That's when the alleged shootout happened," explained Franklin County Sheriff Jerry Jones.

After being treated for the gunshot wound, Kearney, 16, was charged with two counts of murder, but B.B. and Akesia's deaths bring a new reality to their friends and family as the new year begins.

"They didn't get a chance to see 2014 come in and that hurts," said friend Tina Mitchell. "They were good people -- good people taken real early."

The mother and daughter were taken, authorities said, by Akesia's estranged husband, who Jones said saw his life "just seem to go downhill from Dec. 19 to 20 until Dec. 31."

Several months ago, Akesia filed a restraining order against Toney; and on Dec. 19, the family contacted the sheriff's office with an allegation that he had been sexually abusing 16-year-old B.B.

Toney was also wanted for questioning in a murder in Vance County on Dec. 20 and had allegedly made threats against Akesia about a car they owned that he'd given to someone else.

The string of allegations didn't seem to fit Toney's character though, some neighbors said.

"I don't know what problems they were having. That's between them," neighbor Tony Williams said. "But on the outside, what I see, they were good people -- he was a good man, she was a good woman.

Williams said Toney and Akesia split a couple months ago, but Tuesday's events were a shock because Toney seemed to be a good family man.

"He loved his family, he loved his kids, he loved his wife," Williams said. "I don't know what made him go off the deep end like this.

"He was a good man. His little brother was a good dude. He had little troubles, but he was trying to get himself together. I don't know what brought this on."

Jones said law enforcement officers familiar with Toney were also surprised by Tuesday's murders.

"Several law enforcement officers yesterday, even from agencies other than mine, made comments about, 'I can't believe he did this. I've dealt with him before,'" Jones said. "Other than not trying to go to jail and not to get caught, he was a pretty much a normal person."

No matter Toney's character, with three people dead, the circumstances leading to Akesia and B.B.'s murders may remain a mystery.

"This is a tragedy and I feel so sorry for both sides of the family," Williams said. "But, nobody would know because we have three dead people. So nobody will know the truth."

Jones said Kearney will likely make his first court appearance on Thursday, at which point a bond will be set. He said more charges are expected against Kearney in connection with the Dec. 20 Vance County murder.

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Justin Quesinberry

Justin is a reporter for WNCN and a North Carolina native. He has spent the better part of the last decade covering the news in central North Carolina.  More>>

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