Two men being held in Dare County under separate murder charges will not be facing the death penalty, an assistant prosecutor told a judge on Monday.
Enrico Mascaro of Nags Head and Nathan Summerfield of Ashland, Ohio, each wearing orange jumpsuits, were led into the courtroom one at a time for a brief appearance in front of Superior Court Judge J.C. Cole.
“The state is not proceeding capitally in this case,” Assistant District Attorney Lauren Arizaga said after each man was brought out and stood next to the same defense attorney, Sam Dixon of Edenton.
Arizaga did not tell the judge the reasoning behind the decisions. District Attorney Frank Parrish was unavailable for comment Monday.
Shortly before noon, Mascaro was led into the courtroom first. After he completed the appearance – a matter of minutes – he was removed and then Summerfield was led into the room. Neither man made a statement or had questions for the court.
Mascaro, then 19, was charged in July 2011 with the murder of 18-year-old Danielle Dennis-Towne of Steger, Ill. Police said that she was a friend who had been staying with Mascaro’s family in Nags Head for about two weeks prior to being reported missing.
Dennis-Towne’s body was discovered in the trunk of the vehicle Mascaro was driving. She had suffered a gunshot wound to the head, according to the coroner’s report.
Arizaga said that Mascaro’s case is scheduled for trial in Dare County Superior Court on Nov. 11.
Summerfield, then 27, was charged with first-degree murder last August after a five week manhunt tracked him to a motel room in Ohio. The body of his on-again, off-again girlfriend Lynn Jackenheimer, 33, the mother of his 3-year-old son, was discovered on July 10 in Frisco. She had been stabbed and strangled. The pair had been vacationing on Hatteras Island over the week of July 4.
A trial for Summerfield has not yet been scheduled, Arizaga said.
Both men are being held in Dare County jail in Manteo.