11-year-old laid to rest after being shot last weekend

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CRAVEN COUNTY, NC (WITN) - An 11-year-old girl has been laid to rest after she was shot and killed in Craven County last weekend.

Friends and family gathered at the Cotten Funeral Home in New Bern Monday night to celebrate Hailey Joyner's life.

Justin Johnson, 16, has been charged with murdering the young girl in a mobile home on Antioch Road on July 15th.

Joyner had just finished the 5th grade at Bridgeton Elementary School and would have started middle school in the fall.


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A vigil in New Bern has been planned for 11-year-old girl who was shot and killed in Craven County.

Family and friends will gather at Union Point Park at 7 p.m. Saturday to remember Hailey Joyner.

Joyner had just finished fifth grade at Bridgeton Elementary School and would have started middle school in the fall, Principal Melisa Thompson said.

16-year-old Justin Johnson has been charged with murdering the 11-year-old in a mobile home on Antioch Road on July 15.

Deputies say the investigation is still ongoing and deputies haven't revealed what may have led up to the shooting.

Johnson faces a maximum sentence of life in prison and is due to appear in court again on August 4.


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A 16-year-old is accused of killing an 11-year-old girl in Craven County over the weekend and now the young girl's grieving family is speaking out.

Hailey Joyner had just graduated fifth grade and was ready to go to middle school next month when her life was tragically cut short.

Justin Johnson, 16, appeared before a Judge Monday charged with her murder, facing a possible life sentence.

Joyner's mother and grandmother say they knew the boy and that they can't believe something like this could happen.

"I've never known him to be a bad kid, I really haven't," says Rebecca McNese, Joyner's mother. "I can't say that I have... I don't wish death upon him, I wan't him to pay for what he did, I want him to have to sit for the rest of his life and think about it."

While recovering from addiction, McNese says she willingly placed her daughter in the care of someone she knew well through social services.

She says that's the home Joyner was at when she was shot and where Johnson also lived.

McNese had just moved back to the area from Myrtle Beach and was hoping to be reunited with her daughter soon.

"She was so happy, she knew I was here, it was only going to be a couple more weeks and she was going to be home," the grieving mother says.

She says she found out about her daughter's death through a Facebook message and a phone call.

McNese says she's felt like she's been kept in the dark. Due to the investigation, she has yet to see Joyner and won't be able to until Wednesday after the autopsy is completed.

In the meantime, she's just trying to get through this with friends and family.

"We just have to stay close and be there for each other and remember Hailey," says Ellen Morin, Joyner's grandmother. "She's what's important right now."

McNese also says she is considering action against child services. She felt she was in a position to get her child back in January and had been working to do that, saying she can't help but feel like this could have been avoided.

The child's family has set up a gofundme.com account to help with funeral expenses.



Previous Story

A 16-year-old is accused of killing an 11-year-old girl on Saturday in Craven County.

Justin Johnson appeared this morning before a District Court judge at the Craven County Courthouse on an open count of murder.

Deputies say the Bridgeton teen is accused of killing Hailey Joyner at a mobile home on Antioch Road.

A news release says the investigation into the death is ongoing and deputies haven't revealed what may have led up to the shooting.

The school system says the victim had just finished 5th grade at Bridegton Elementary School and would have started middle school next month.

The child's family has set up a gofundme.com account to help with funeral expenses.

The judge appointed Johnson a lawyer and told him the maximum punishment he faces would be life in prison, if convicted. The teen has August 4th as his next court date.



 

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