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Murder suspect has Rowan ties

Staff and wire reports

LINCOLNTON — A man with a long criminal history in Rowan County was charged Thursday with murdering a Lincoln County sheriff’s deputy.

Monty Wood Poteat, 42, faces a charge of first-degree murder in the shooting death of 46-year-old Lawana Mason Morton.

Morton’s roommate discovered her body Monday afternoon in her bedroom. She had been killed by a single gunshot to her head. No weapon was found.

Morton had worked at the department since 1992, both full time and part-time, most recently as a courthouse bailiff and at the county detention center. She also worked as a security guard at Duke Energy’s McGuire Nuclear Station on Lake Norman.

Morton divorced last year, and she was staying with a friend after her house burned.

A press release from the Lincoln County Sheriff’s Office didn’t give a motive. Investigators arrested Poteat on Tuesday and charged him with violating a domestic violence protection order, reports said.

After that arrest, Poteat’s address was listed as the same address where Morton was living.

Poteat has convictions in Rowan County dating back to at least 1984, according to the N.C. Department of Correction Web site.

He has been convicted in Rowan of assault on a female, communicating threats, trespassing, misdemeanor breaking and entering, receiving stolen goods, habitual driving while impaired and drug possession.

His last conviction in Rowan came in 2002.

He has also previously been charged with offenses in Lincoln and Avery counties.

Funeral services for Mason will be held at 3 p.m. Saturday at First Baptist Church in Lincolnton.

Anyone with information about the crime can contact the Lincoln County Crime Tip Line at 704-736-8606 or the Lincoln County Sheriff’s Office at 704-732-9050.


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