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Prosecution Seeking Death Penalty In Case Of Woman Harassed, Killed

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CLAYTON, N.C. — Prosecutors said Thursday they will go after the death penalty for a man accused of harassing and ultimately killing his ex-girlfriend.

Rhonda Barnes died in April, her burned body found inside her home. Police say her ex-boyfriend tormented her for a year before the killing.

As Dennis Shaw, who is charged in the case, returned to the courtroom, members of his family and the victim's filled several rows.

He's charged with murdering Barnes at her Clayton home in April. Police arrested Shaw at his home near Washington, D.C.

The two have a daughter together.

"It's just crazy... it's crazy," said Andrea Morton, Barnes' sister. She said that for a while they considered Shaw part of their family. "I just can't believe he would do that, hurt his family and our family like that. While it brings closure, I'm just so disappointed in him as a person."

The hearing began with District Attorney Tom Lock saying the state will seek the death penalty against Shaw.

"If you do the crime... do the time," Morton said.

The district attorney is also trying to subpoena Shaw's credit card statements and other financial records.

"Through these records we are hoping to be able to place the defendant physically in North Carolina on the day of the homicide," Lock said.

There is still a long road ahead before this case goes to trial. Barnes' family plans to be there to see it through.

Shaw's family members and attorneys declined to make any comment on his case. The next scheduled court date is in September.

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