Local News

Records show deputy's killer had mental problems

Posted December 12, 2011
Updated December 13, 2011

— 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.

Vass house where Deputy Rick Rhyne was killed Deputy's killer was abusive, unstable, records show

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.


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  • didyouhearme Dec 13, 2011

    So sorry if I say this, but I'm sad for the dead. Both of them. I didn't know that he was in the military. I do wonder why, when they said that he left without leave, why didn't his wife call and just have them come and pick him up for goodness sakes...come get him. Don't they do that? I mean, can you be AWOL and no one cares anymore? Never was that way in the past. I just don't get it. IF it is true that he was in the military, then...and they knew that he had problems, well...cracks or no cracks...they bear responsibility for this well...that's my way of thinking. I feel bad for both now. Too bad the news didn't tell us...

  • alwaysamused Dec 13, 2011

    I am married to an Iraq veteran and still do not believe one's veteran status is an excuse for subsequent criminal behavior. I do not sympathize with this man. My husband and I both believe it is one's OWN responsibility to seek help for problems--regardless of their origin--when they first emerge, especially when he or she is obviously hurting family members. We have stricter laws for protecting pets than we have for protecting women and children from abusive men. Restraining orders are a joke, and innocent people should NEVER have to live in hiding. If he'd been incarcerated for torturing his family, none of the subsequent horror would have happened.

  • dukeandtwister634 Dec 13, 2011

    Who was Martin Poynter?? First, he was a brother in arms, a brave and highly decorated Special Forces Green Beret Solider, who fought for his county honorably in Iraq [OIF]. You ask “ Why did this happened” it is the same old sad story, “slipped through the cracks “, “passing the buck” ultimately I believe the blame rest squarely on all of us, [ his brothers in arms ] the Army and final the Veterans Administration system. It is the old patch em up and ship them out story. This Brother is truly a victim in more ways than one. If anything can be taken away from this sad story is we failed this disabled veteran, shame on us. For the Deputy Rick Rhyne family my heart goes out to you. To the Poynter Family I am sorry I wasn’t there to help Martin in his time of need.
    See you on the other side my friend
    De Oppresso Liber

  • SmokeWagon Dec 13, 2011

    Yep...sure seems the judicial system, the state, the military and the legal profession ALL had THEIR proverbial paperwork bases covered...!!!

  • ncouterbanks69 Dec 13, 2011

    So does that really make a difference? If he were arrested it probably would which is ridiculous. Should we feel sorry for him? Absolutely not.

  • shewolf27592 Dec 13, 2011

    Sad story. A man just doing his job and then getting shot and killed. What a waste. Rest in peace Deputy Rine and my your family find comfort during this difficult time.

  • Packy Dec 13, 2011

    Why was he not apprehended for deserting the army?"

    that's my question...

  • trekkie13 Dec 12, 2011

    Why was he not apprehended for deserting the army?

  • mfarmer1 Dec 12, 2011

    >> "killer had mental problems"

    We knew this last Thursday

  • workingforthosethatwont Dec 12, 2011

    I think the police would have probably gotten some satisfaction out of arresting him but it sounds like his mental history might would have prevented an outright murder conviction.
    This killer saved us all some taxpayer money. Sad story all the way around.