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Woman charged in murder of 17-year-old boyfriend, held without bond after stabbing

By Jessie Burchette
jburchette@salisburypost.com
KANNAPOLIS ó A Kannapolis woman has been charged with murder in the stabbing death of her teenage boyfriend.
The Rowan County Sheriff’s Office charged Emily Ann Howard, 26, of 2118 Lynn St., Kannapolis, Thursday afternoon with killing Dustin Garren Lee, 17, also of 2118 Lynn St.
Lee died at Carolinas Medical Center-NorthEast in Concord shortly after 1 a.m. Thursday.
Howard and her father, William Howard, who lives at the same address, told investigators she stabbed Lee while defending her father.
Thursday afternoon, Capt. John Sifford said investigators presented evidence and statements to the District Attorney’s Office, resulting in the murder charge.
District Attorney Bill Kenerly will decide on whether to seek a charge of first-degree murder at a later date.
Emily Howard is being held in the Rowan County Detention Center without bond.
Investigators say Lee, the victim, was in the process of moving out of the house when he was stabbed.
Sifford described Lee and Emily Howard as boyfriend and girlfriend.
Shortly after 1 a.m. Thursday, deputies were called to a disturbance at 2118 Lynn St., which is off Moose Road near the Martin-Marietta Quarry.
Before deputies arrived, county 911 dispatchers advised them of another call that a man had been stabbed.
Sifford said the deputies arrived on the scene to find the victim lying in the yard.
The residents of the home, Emily Howard and William Howard, approached the deputies, both saying she was defending her father.
Sifford said the stabbing was the result of a domestic relationship that had gone sour.
“Dustin was getting his stuff together to leave,” Sifford said. “At some point, he was apparently stabbed.”
Robert Earnhardt, chief of the Mount Mitchell Volunteer Fire Department, was the first medical responder on the scene.
Earnhardt said the victim had a large knife wound in his chest.
“It was a good size wound, like from a butcher knife,” he said.
Based on the amount of blood, Earnhardt said, the knife most likely pierced Lee’s heart. Although first responders performed CPR on the victim on the way to the hospital, Earnhardt said they were not able to revive him.
The fire chief said the Lynn Street address is familiar to the fire department.
“We’ve run a lot of domestic calls, different boyfriends, overdose calls, her (Emily Howard) and her father getting into fights,” he said.
Lee’s body has been sent to the N.C. Medical Examiner’s Office to determine the number of wounds he suffered.
Sifford said the weapon was a knife or some type of sharp weapon.
The Lee stabbing death is the second death in less than a week credited to a domestic situation.
On Sept. 17, 52-year-old Billy Tommy Elmore was fatally shot at his Summer Place home.
Elmore had moved out the week before after weeks of domestic turmoil. His wife, Patty Earnhardt Elmore, had gotten a domestic violence protective order, but it hadn’t been served on Elmore, who was staying in Iredell County.
On Monday, the Rowan County Sheriff’s Office charged Elmore’s stepson, Robert Douglas Earnhardt, 30, with murder.
Investigators say Elmore had returned to 165 Leisure Lane to get his dog when Earnhardt walked up behind him with a 12-gauge shotgun and fired a single blast at Elmore’s head.

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