A 35-year-old mother was shot to death inside her Richland County home and deputies have charged her boyfriend with the crime.
Mr. Percy Williams, 31, was charged with murder after turning himself in early Monday morning, according to the Richland County Sheriff's Office.
Still, the reason for the shooting remained a mystery, at least among investigators. Family members believe Ms. Tabatha Priester was killed because she was about to end her relationship with Mr. Williams.
The 35-year-old woman was shot around 6 a.m. inside her home at 316 Todd Branch Road, sheriff's spokesman Mr. Curtis Wilson said.
She was found dead in her bathroom of a gunshot wound to the head, officials said.
“Williams drove the victim's car to a gas station on Two Notch Road, then called someone who picked him up and took him to the sheriff's department,” Mr. Wilson said.
It’s unclear if he made any statements to deputies.
Family members told WIS-TV that Ms. Priester, the mother of an 8-year-old son, may have been trying to end the relationship.
"This is just a horrible way ... horrible situation for her to have to lose her life," Ms. Priester's cousin, Ms. Vaneshia Smith said.
Ms. Priester's cousin, Ms. Tacora Thomas, was also killed as a result of domestic violence in October, family members told the news station.
Her husband allegedly shot her multiple times in the upper body while the two were in the process of separating, the news station reported.
Mr. Williams’ criminal history shows a violent past that stretches back several years with a 2004 eight-year sentence for kidnapping, carjacking and armed robbery. In 2011, he was back in jail for failing to register as a sex offender and in January of this year he was arrested on drug charges.
Deputies say there had previous reports of domestic incidents before Monday’s deadly shooting, the news station reported.
Acutely aware of the state's ranking as the second in the nation for the rate of women murdered by men, Ms. Priester's family is urging those in a violent relationship not to wait.
"Life is more important than fighting someone or staying in someone's life," Ms. Smith said. "It's okay to be alone. It's okay to love yourself first; it's okay to love your kids, but sometimes you just have to walk away."
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