Wife Beaten To Death

JACKSONVILLE - Deputies continued to gather evidence on Thursday- days after they found the body of Shirley Lee, beaten to death in her home.

An Onslow County man is charged with murder after his wife.

Howard Lee, 62, lived with his wife Shirley off of Blue Creek Road in Jacksonville.

The man allegedly beat his 63-year-old wife to death last Wednesday in their living room.

But he didn't call deputies to his home until Saturday, when he told authorities that he'd found his wife dead in her bed.

The medical examiner confirmed that Shirley Lee was beaten to death. The Sheriff noted the autopsy included notes about a lacerated liver.

It is unclear what happened in the three days between Wednesday and Saturday.

As crime scene tape still rippled in the wind outside the Lee's home, neighbors told NewsChannel 12 they are second-guessing some interactions they saw between the husband and wife.

"My cousin (saw) him, I think he said Friday, with his wife coming from the mailbox," said Galloway Pickett. Pickett said he works in the area routinely and has family who lived near the couple. "He had her by the hand, pullin' her along."

After investigating, deputies arrested him late Tuesday and charged him with the murder.

Lee is being held without bond in the Onslow County Jail. The degree of murder he is charged with has not been decided.

Family members described a history of domestic violence directed towards Mrs. Lee, according to deputies.

Authorities said a memorial service for Shirley Lee was held Thursday in Havelock.

------ Jon Erickson contributed reporting.

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