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Woman Charged In Boyfriend's Slaying To Get Court-Appointed Attorney

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SMITHFIELD, N.C. — A woman accused of killing her live-in boyfriend in Johnston County made her first court appearance Thursday.

On Wednesday, deputies arrested 26-year-old Tiffany Bassett and charged her with first-degree premeditated murder in the death of Donald "Keith" West. West was found shot to death in his bedroom.

West's family sat in the front row of the courtroom during Bassett's appearance. They were too emotional to speak about the case.

West worked as a Smithfield police officer for several years.

"He was a go-getter," said Smithfield police Capt. RJ Cuddington. "He wasn't lazy at all. He was always into something, patrolling the streets. He was just a good guy all around."

He left the department in 2001 to start his own private police security operation, West-Tek Inc. He also owned a public safety supply store. His company branched out across the country and currently employees about 200 people.

Bassett has been in trouble before. In February, she confessed to 13 counts of forging prescriptions to obtain drugs from several local pharmacies. Afterward, she agreed to enroll in a drug treatment program.

Bassett and West's home was under foreclosure and was scheduled to be sold on the same day, at almost the same time, that deputies got the call about West's murder.

Authorities still won't comment about a possible motive in this case or even about the weapon involved. They have said that the case is still under investigation.

Bassett was given a court-appointed attorney during her appearance. She is currently being held without bond at the Johnston County Jail.


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