Local News

Franklin County Domestic Dispute Leads to Shooting Death

Posted September 25, 1997 12:00 a.m. EDT

— One person is dead after a domestic dispute in Franklin County, the early details of which paint to a rather strange tale. The incident occurred in the community of Epsom in Northern Franklin County.

Sheriff Robert Redman told WRAL-TV5'sMark Robertsa man was waiting behind a house for his ex-girlfriend, 28-year-old Sherry Kelly, to come out at about 7:30 Thursday morning. When she did come out, Redman says 40-year-old Van Spain Jr. opened fire shooting the woman three times. She fell near a car parked in the yard and died at the scene. The woman had just celebrated her birthday Wednesday.

Redman says the couple had just recently broken off their relationship. The victim was the mother of a 7-year-old boy who reportedly witnessed the shooting. Investigators say he hid under a car parked in the yard and called for help on a cellular phone as he hid.

The child was not injured. He is with his father.

Spain fled the scene heading north on N.C. 39. He was arrested in Vance County.

Spain is charged with first-degree murder.

The incident occurred in a very rural area. The child is apparently the only witness to the crime.