Local News

Requests for protective orders spike after Franklinton domestic shooting

Posted July 28, 2015 4:32 p.m. EDT
Updated July 28, 2015 5:55 p.m. EDT

— More people are looking to get protection from a person they fear in the wake of the domestic-related shooting death of a Franklin County woman over the weekend, authorities said Tuesday.

Tracy Williams was killed Sunday evening while she was at an ATM in the parking lot of a Food Lion on U.S. Highway 1 in Franklinton.

Her family and friends and Franklinton Police Chief John Green said Williams took several steps to protect herself from Garry Yarborough after the couple split up earlier this year, including buying a handgun, taking a class to obtain a concealed carry permit, getting a restraining order against Yarborough and notifying police when he contacted her.

Witnesses said Williams even tried to defend herself Sunday, getting off one shot before Yarborough chased her down and shot her in the face.

Police arrested Yarborough, 35, of 306 Yellowbell Court in Zebulon, early Monday at a Raleigh motel and charged him with first-degree murder.

"It's a very brutal and stark reminder of just how dangerous domestic violence can be," said Stephanie Francis of InterAct of Wake County, which helps domestic violence victims. "The perpetrator was determined to harm her."

Twenty to 25 requests for domestic violence protective orders are filed in Wake County each day, but authorities say it's common for that number to increase after a publicized domestic violence case.

Deputy A. Bell of the Wake County Sheriff's Office said she often sees fear in the eyes of people seeking domestic violence protective orders.

"It is a legal document designed to deter the defendant to stay away from the victim," Bell said. "Sometimes they work; sometimes they don't."

Last year, 2,004 protective orders were requested in Wake County, down from 2,224 in 2013, according to authorities. It was the first time in at least four years that the number declined.

Even though a piece of paper doesn't always stop an attack, investigators say a protective order can provide some level of protection.

"You always want to have something in place for the people who are willing to work and abide by the law," Bell said.