Local News

Ex-Boyfriend Charged in Single Mother's Stabbing Death

Posted May 1, 2007
Updated May 9, 2007

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— Police have charged a 25-year-old man with a fatal stabbing in west Raleigh early Tuesday.

Lorrielle Watkins, 29, was found stabbed to death at about 5 a.m. Tuesday at 1311-G Kent Road at the Trees & Leaves apartment complex, police said.

Mwanza Rama Bennett stands accused of murder in the case.

Police said Bennett was in the vicinity when they arrived at the complex Tuesday morning and fled the area in his car. Officers pursued the car until it wrecked near the intersection of Tryon Road and Par Drive, where they took Bennett into custody.

No information was released on a possible motive for the stabbing, but police said it wasn't a random crime, noting Watkins and Bennett knew each other very well.

Family members said Watkins was a nursing student who only lacked one semester in school. She was also the single mother of an 11-year-old autistic son who was inside the apartment when she was killed, family members said.

"I think he's blessed, because he don't feel what we feel," said Watkins' aunt, Cynthia Powell.

 Neighbor Otis Partin said he called 911 after hearing Watkins scream and seeing a man chase her.

"I opened the door and I saw it, and when she got down to the bottom of the hill, he was dead on her," Partin said. "I've still got the echo of her voice in my head. It's a shame."

Family members of Watkins said Bennett was her ex-boyfriend.

Police spent much of Tuesday interviewing neighbors and monitoring who came and went at the complex as they gathered evidence in the case.

Residents who live nearby said there was another stabbing in the same area recently, as well as a shooting and some car break-ins.

"Two weeks ago, there was another (stabbing). The neighborhood itself is getting kind of rough, so I'm pretty excited to move out," said Laura Mazurek, a North Carolina State University senior who lives in the complex.

Watkins' family reacted Tuesday with not only grief, but anger.

"We just knew this was it," Powell said. "She had finally made it. And then somebody just (took) her from us. It's just selfish. It's not fair."

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