Local News

Friends: Slain woman tried to protect herself from ex-boyfriend

Posted July 27, 2015

— A Franklin County woman took several steps to protect herself from her ex-boyfriend after their split up early this year, her family and friends said Monday, a day after she was shot dead.

Tracy Williams was killed Sunday evening while she was at an ATM in the parking lot of a Food Lion on U.S. Highway 1 in Franklinton.

Garry Arist Yarborough, 35, of 306 Yellowbell Court in Zebulon, was arrested early Monday at a Days Inn on Glenwood Avenue in Raleigh and charged with first-degree murder. He was being held without bond in the Franklin County jail.

Williams' family said problems between her and Yarborough began almost two years ago but escalated in recent months.

"We were all concerned. Her mother was concerned. The whole family was concerned," said Rev. Willie Nixon III, the family's pastor.

Franklinton Police Chief John Green said Williams repeatedly called law enforcement about Yarborough, and officers were at her mother's home Saturday night, where she went because she felt threatened.

Williams did everything she could to protect herself, Green said, including changing her vehicle, buying a handgun, taking a class to obtain a concealed carry permit, getting a restraining order against Yarborough and notifying police when he contacted her.

Three weeks ago, Yarborough was charged with second-degree kidnapping, and the warrant states he abducted Williams "for the purpose of terrorizing" her. He was later released on a $75,000 bond.

"It jolted her to the point where she took every conceivable measure to ensure she was not connected to this person ever again," Nixon said.

He said he checked in with Williams nearly every day, but his last text message, send on Saturday, went unanswered. He said Yarborough likely stalked her in recent weeks.

"He was watching her. He was watching her every move, and he found a convenient time and did what he did," Nixon said. "God have mercy on his soul "

Witnesses and Green said Williams shot Yarborough once before her gun jammed, and Yarborough then chased her down and shot her in the face.

After the shooting, Yarborough drove off in a black SUV, broke into a Franklinton home and forced the woman inside, a nurse at Novant Health Franklin Medical Center to bandage a gunshot wound to his leg.

The SUV was later found burned, setting off a manhunt for Yarborough. Green said social media was key in leading officers to the Raleigh motel, where Yarborough surrendered after talking to his mother on the phone.

Another man, Josiah Michael Oakley, was charged as an accessory after the fact of murder. Green said Oakley picked up Yarborough where the SUV was dumped and drove him to the motel.


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  • Belle Boyd Jul 28, 2015
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    There is only so much the system can do for someone. Yes, the police could have went and arrested him (if they could find him), but they couldn't hold him forever. Yes, a restraining order is only a piece of paper and that is not going to stop anyone.
    Now, with that said she did make the decision to date a criminal. Her family knew something was wrong. If your family doesn't like him/her there is probably something wrong. She should have never gotten involved with him.
    This is a sad story, but you can't just blame the system/judge.

  • Gabrielle Williams Jul 28, 2015
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    First Greg your comment was very distasteful. May you never feel the pain that this family is feeling. Second, the judge and the system failed this woman. He was arrested so many times. A restraining order is not worth the paper it is printed on. Sending so many prayers to her family.

  • Karen Orndorff Jul 28, 2015
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    That's not even funny.