SPRING HOPE, N.C. — A Nash County man is in custody for the shooting death of a former live-in girlfriend. Investigators said the victim just recently had been in contact with the suspect.
Investigators said 33-year-old Cynthia Johnson lived with her boyfriend, Bobby Jones, for many years. Johnson's family said she left him a few months ago and moved to Franklin County.
Johnson returned Thursday night to pick up her kids and bags full of clothes. Investigators said that as Johnson was loading her car, Jones shot her in front of her 11- and 15-year-old daughters.
By the time deputies arrived, Johnson was dead. They found her body in the driveway, and her children told them Jones had fled the scene.
Deputies later arrested Jones in Franklin County. They are still looking for the murder weapon.
Officials said Johnson took out a restraining order against Jones in February. Her family said she feared for her life.
"He was not to be in contact with her or the children or be in any place that they may be," said Lt. Patrick Joyner of the Nash County Sheriff's Office.
However, Johnson's father said her daughter recently started letting the kids visit and said she trusted Jones again.
The Johnson and Jones families are very close. Cynthia's father is married to Bobby Jones' ex-wife. Johnson said eight children from the two families were all raised together in Durham.
Jones is jailed without bond.
Last year, there were 68 domestic violence-related murders in North Carolina. The General Assembly is working to establish tougher penalties to bring down that number.
A new plan upgrades criminal penalties and strengthens current domestic violence laws. It also creates a new offense for strangulation.