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Man Charged in Raleigh Woman's Death

Posted November 12, 2007
Updated November 30, 2007

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— Police have arrested and charged a man in connection with the death of a Raleigh woman, who was found inside her apartment Sunday afternoon.

Robert Lee Griffin, 62, faces first-degree murder in the death of Naomi Elizabeth Harris, 61.

Authorities have not offered a motive for the crime or said how Harris might have died. An autopsy was scheduled to determine the cause of death.

Harris' friends and neighbors said Griffin was her husband, but police could not confirm the two were married. Investigators said the two were in a relationship.

A neighbor, Gerlene Barnes, said she heard loud banging noises from Harris' Brookside Drive apartment Friday night, and another neighbor reported seeing a "deranged" man with a knife in the apartment complex on Saturday. They said her niece found her body about 4 p.m. Saturday.

Barnes said Harris told her Griffin would beat her.

"We know that there was a history between the two that included violence, on part of the suspect," Raleigh Police Department spokesman Jim Sughrue said.

But investigators have not called the homicide a domestic violence case.

Griffin has a history of violent crimes dating back to 1968 with charges and convictions in multiple states – including Colorado, Maryland and North Carolina – ranging from assault to drug and weapons violations.

Court records indicate that police arrested Griffin four times in the past few years after Harris reported he was violent toward her. He served three months in prison.

Friends described Harris, a housekeeper for the state Department of Transportation, as a kind and helpful neighbor.

"She was a very good neighbor, a good person," neighbor Inez Reid said. "She'll be missed."

Griffin was expected to appear in court at around 2 p.m. Tuesday for a bond hearing.