LENOIR COUNTY - Deputies have charged a woman with murder for allegedly shooting her mother in the back of her head, all while the suspect's 4-year-old child was inside the home.
According to the Lenoir County Sheriff's Office, Laurie Ann Ellis has been charged with an open count of murder in the shooting death of 62-year-old Brenda Woodard.
Investigators said the shooting happened at 3825 Sharon Church Road, northeast of Kinston, at about 4:08 p.m. Monday. When deputies arrived at the scene, they found Woodard dead on her bedroom floor with a gunshot wound to the back of her head, the Sheriff's Office stated.
Ellis and her 4-year-old son were at the home when deputies arrived, investigators said. It was believed that the child was in another room when Ellis allegedly shot her mother.
Ellis told deputies she accidentally shot her mother, according to the Sheriff's Office. But based on the suspect's "deceptive statements" during the initial interview, as well as evidence from the scene, investigators said they believe Ellis murdered the victim.
A motive, however, was unknown.
The gun that Ellis used was found hidden in a closet and was reported stolen about a year ago, deputies said.
The victim's husband, James Woodard, had just gotten home from a dentist visit when deputies arrived at the scene, the Sheriff's Office stated.
Ellis made her first court appearance Tuesday. She is being held under no bond.
An autopsy for Woodard was scheduled for Tuesday afternoon.
Harold Lang, who lives across the street from Woodard's home, shared memories of the victim.
"Excellent- couldn't have asked for a better neighbor," said Lang. "She looked out for my house and I'd look out for hers."