Woman found dead in Calhoun Street apartment; man claims he stabbed her

  • Posted: Thursday, May 23, 2013 7:51 p.m.
    UPDATED: Thursday, May 23, 2013 7:52 p.m.
Officer Karl Boehm talks with Marilyn Dillard, mother of the man who turned himself in, near the scene where a woman was found dead.
Officer Karl Boehm talks with Marilyn Dillard, mother of the man who turned himself in, near the scene where a woman was found dead.

SALISBURY — A man has been charged with murder in connection with the stabbing death of a woman Thursday evening on Calhoun Street.

Police say Tony Lamont Luther, 40, walked into the Rowan County Magistrate’s Office around 6:20 p.m. Thursday and told them he had stabbed a woman he knew.

Police went out to his home, one of five apartments in a one-story building on Calhoun Street off Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard, and found the body of Tasha Nicole West, 28.

They confirmed that West, who lived in Pine Hill Apartments on West 15th Street, had died of an apparent stab wound. After making sure there was no one else in the apartment, officers went back outside to wait on a search warrant.

Nearly four hours after the incident, just after 10 p.m., detectives entered and began their investigation.

Police cordoned off the man’s car outside the magistrate’s office. While Luther was there Thursday evening, police say he drew a heart around the letters “TLT” in a red substance that looked like blood on an outer wall of the building.

Luther and West were involved in an on-again, off-again relationship and had been together for a couple of years, according to family members at the scene.

Luther’s mother, Marilyn Dillard of Salisbury, said her son is a “good man” who is normally funny and easy to love, but he sometimes seems “mentally unstable” — especially recently. She said that while he was having conversations with people, he would become convinced that God was talking to him.

“He was going off his mind,” Dillard said. “I told the police, ‘He doesn’t need to go to jail, he needs to go to a mental ward. He needs help.’ ”

Before Luther turned himself in, Dillard said, he came to her house to tell her what had happened.

“He said, ‘Mom, I did it. I killed her,’ ” she said. “He told me to have a good life. I told him, ‘Tony, you didn’t. I don’t believe you.’ I still can’t believe it.”

Luther was placed in the Rowan County Detention Center without bond, and he is scheduled for a first appearance in court today.

A convicted felon, he has spent years behind bars for assault with a deadly weapon, assault on a police officer and assault with a deadly weapon on state property, according to the state Department of Corrections.

Contact reporter Karissa Minn at 704-797-4222.

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