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Autopsy: Fayetteville woman repeatedly struck with hammer

Posted September 13, 2010

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— A Fayetteville woman whom authorities say was killed by her son and left in her burning home was repeatedly struck with a hammer, according to an autopsy report released Monday.

The report says Barbara Ann Towery, 42, suffered from at least 14 separate blunt force injuries to the head, which led to contusions and lacerations on her scalp and brain.

Firefighters found Towery in her burning home at 456 Star Lane on July 24.

Towery's son, Johnathon Gray, 18, faces first-degree murder and first-degree arson charges in her death.

Authorities have not released a motive for the crime.

Family friends and neighbors said Gray had moved in with his mother prior to her death and that they seemed to get along fine. He has a history of mental illness, they said.

Gray is being held without bond in the Cumberland County Detention Center.


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  • psycho Sep 13, 2010

    Prozacdispenser's right.... these folks don't go away just because we don't want to put funding into mental health. We pay it in mental health, or we wait for the crimes and violence, then pay it in justice system and prison expenses.

  • mrman2a Sep 13, 2010

    Where is Dad ?

  • ncguy Sep 13, 2010

    mentally ill? isn't any murderer mentally ill.

  • Adelinthe Sep 13, 2010

    How tragic!!!

    Praying for those who loved her.

    God bless.


  • mulecitybabe Sep 13, 2010

    ProzacDispenser is absolutely correct. The jails and prisons have been the new mental health treatment centers for years. A huge percentage of inmates have a diagnosed mental illness compared with our unincarcerated population. And most of them are not in prison because they are violent (like this young man). They are there because they are unable to make rational decisions.

  • LuvLivingInCary Sep 13, 2010

    mental illness is such a tough road for these families and now look at all the cutbacks at dorothy dix and such. expect more of this.

    now the state gets to house him in prison for the rest of his life. i guess they think that is cheaper than a little therapy growing up. oh well, at least i hear that the healthcare is wonderful there in central prison so in the end this may be the best place for him.