16-year-old accused of killing pre-teen girl

At left, accused killer Justin Johnson in court Monday, July 17, and at right, 11-year-old Hailey Joyner, who Johnson is accused of killing. (Nicole Griffin/NewsChannel 12)

NEW BERN, Craven County - A Bridgeton teen is facing one count of felony murder following the death of a pre-teen girl who had been living at the same house.

Justin Johnson, 16, was in Craven County Superior Court for his first appearance Monday morning, charged with the killing of Hailey Joyner, 11, who was living in the same house in the 1000 block of Antioch Road. According to sources with knowledge of the incident, Joyner was killed with a shotgun Saturday morning.

The manner of Joyner's death was later confirmed by the Craven County Sheriff's Office in a press release.

Johnson was given a court-appointed attorney and, if convicted, could face life in prison without the possibility of parole.

District Attorney Scott Thomas was limited in what he could say about the case, noting that the investigation is ongoing.

"The defendant is charged at this time based upon evidence obtained during the course of the investigation," Thomas said.

Joyner's grandmother, Ellen Morin, has set up a GoFundMe page to raise funds for her granddaughter's funeral expenses.

"Our family has to come up with the funeral expenses and would appreciate any help during this time and the loss of my precious granddaughter," Morin wrote.

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