Neighbor says Havelock killings happened too close to home

Neighbor says Havelock killings happened too close to home
Published: Feb. 7, 2022 at 7:54 PM EST
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CRAVEN COUNTY, N.C. (WITN) - A Havelock community is on edge.

“We didn’t see or hear anything, but when we realized what had happened, it really kind of shook us up,” Havelock resident Lana Landi said.

For Landi, the feeling comes after two people, Michael Mcilnay and Tara Shimmel, were found dead with stab wounds Sunday near her home at the intersection of Fleetwood Street and Forest Hill Drive.

“This is a great neighborhood and everything and we’ve never had anything like this happen,” Landi said.

Stephen Maher, the man accused of the killings, faced a judge Monday morning. He is charged with two counts of murder.

Investigators credit an eyewitness description in helping them arrest Maher, who they said returned to the scene and was talking with officers.

“He’s charged with the two most serious charges that he could be charged with based on the evidence that we have,” Craven County District Attorney Scott Thomas said.

Thomas told WITN the investigation shows Maher and the victims knew each other: “This was not a random act of violence, everyone knew each other.”

Thomas also said cases like these are few and far between in the city, adding “that is something that’s rare, and in Havelock in general, to have a double homicide, any homicide, but especially a double homicide.”

Even so, the event is enough to keep residents alert.

“Keep your eyes out in the neighborhood, people that’s been here for years, and just watch out for one another,” Landi cautioned.

According to Thomas, while stab wounds were found on the victims, autopsies are scheduled for this week to determine if that is what killed them.

Maher is jailed under no bond. The Havelock Police Department will continue the investigation.

Maher’s next court date is set for Feb. 18th.

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