Records show deputy's killer had mental problems
Posted December 12, 2011
Updated December 13, 2011
Vass, N.C. — The man who shot and killed a Moore County deputy last week before committing suicide was ordered to undergo a psychiatric evaluation four years ago after exhibiting paranoid and abusive behavior, according to court records obtained Monday by WRAL News.
Martin Abel Poynter, 33, shot Deputy Rick Rhyne on Thursday when Rhyne found Poynter and his brother inside a house in Vass where Poynter used to live.
Rhyne, 58, was buried Monday in Aberdeen.
Poynter was in the 7th Special Forces Group at Fort Bragg and had deployed at least once to Iraq in 2005 and 2006, court records show. He went absent without leave from the Army in February 2007.
In May 2007, his wife sought a protective order against him, alleging that he had held her and their four children hostage in the home at 753 Morrison Bridge Road for three months, with the children missing school.
Corrine Poynter described an abusive marriage in which her husband sometimes held a knife against the corner of her eye and her throat.
“My husband is not mentally stable, and I am afraid that he will become more violent as time goes on. I am also concerned that the regressive behaviors that the children are exhibiting will grow worse,” she wrote in the complaint seeking the protective order.
Martin Poynter was convinced that his wife and children were helping someone spy on him, Corinne Poynter said.
"Once, in an attempt to prove to me that he was being spied on, he loaded all of us up in the truck and drove around for two days ... whipping on and off interstates and driving unfamiliar back roads at 100 miles per hour," she wrote in the complaint.
She also alleged that her husband forced their oldest son to do push-ups until his muscles failed so he would confess to being a spy.
A judge granted the protective order, ruling that Martin Poynter had come back from Iraq a changed man. Moore County deputies then forced him out of the house for an involuntary psychological evaluation in Moore County and Womack Army Medical Center at Fort Bragg.
Psychiatrists diagnosed him with schizo-affective disorder and sexual addiction, and records show that he was released from a psychiatric unit at an Army hospital in Missouri in December 2007.
By then, Corrine Poynter and the four children had left North Carolina. She remained hiding in Arkansas until June 2008, when she gained custody of the children. They had spent several months with Martin Poynter's mother.
Neighbors in Vass said they had not seen Martin Poynter in the last couple of years. Moore County Sheriff Lane Carter said it appears that he spent that time in Missouri, where members of his family live.
Aside from a speeding ticket, Martin Poynter had no criminal record in North Carolina or Missouri, according to court records.
Authorities aren't sure why he returned to the house in Vass with his brother.