Woman gets 15 months for killing boyfriend

Published 12:00 am Friday, August 12, 2011

By Karissa Minn
SALISBURY — A Landis woman who shot her boyfriend to death after reporting he had assaulted her was given jail time Friday after pleading guilty to involuntary manslaughter.
Brandy Nicole Lyons, 33, of 613 S. Vance St. in Landis, was indicted by a grand jury last year on a charge of second-degree murder in the shooting of 35-year-old Roy Daniels Jr.
After first pleading not guilty in August 2010, Lyons entered a guilty plea Friday in Rowan County Superior Court as part of a plea arrangement.
Lyons was sentenced to 15 to 18 months in prison, receiving credit for time served. She spent 47 days in jail last year before being released on a $50,000 bond.
Judge Kevin Bridges also recommended she receive substance abuse treatment after hearing witness statements that both Lyons and Daniels abused drugs, alcohol and each other.
On June 25, 2010, the Landis Police Department and the Rowan County Sheriff’s Office responded to a shooting report at Lyons’ Vance Street home.
When authorities arrived, they found Daniels in the kitchen apparently bleeding from a gunshot wound in the stomach.
They found a single-barrel shotgun in another room of the house, said District Attorney Brandy Cook, and a large knife in Daniels’ pocket. Tests later showed he had a blood-alcohol content of .12.
During Friday’s court hearing, Lyons said Daniels had threatened to kill her, himself and their then-6-year-old daughter.
She said she still loves Daniels and didn’t mean to kill him — just to scare him enough to could get away safely.
“I didn’t feel like I had a different option,” Lyons said. “I used to tell him his wires got twisted. … Whatever was shorting out in him that night made him threaten a child.”
That had never happened before, she said, during any of their arguments or fights.
“I opened the door and heard the gun go off. … I had it aimed down at the ground, and I don’t …” Lyons said, trailing off.
She and her attorney, Nancy Gaines, asked the judge for a suspended sentence with long-term probation to allow Lyons to stay home with her daughter.
“My daughter has already been punished enough for my and her father’s stupid mistakes,” Lyons said tearfully. “I don’t want her to be punished any more.”
During the hearing, Daniels’ mother, Becky Plummer, said “people think I’m crazy,” but that she wanted the same thing for the child’s sake.
A counselor for Lyons’ daughter testified the girl has a “close and nurturing” relationship with her mother that would be damaged by more time apart.
“It’s always difficult for a young child to lose a parent, whether permanently or temporarily,” Bridges said before giving a sentence. “I also have sympathy for the victims of domestic violence.”
But the judge said it troubled him that Lyons reportedly talked about shooting Daniels less than two hours before she did, while Daniels wasn’t there to endanger her.
Sheriff’s deputies had been called repeatedly to the home over the years. Before Daniels was killed, Lyons called 911 at 9:12 p.m. that night to say he had hit her, choked her and assaulted her nephew, who was then 20 years old.
In court Friday, Cook said Lyons asked deputies what would happen if she shot Daniels.
They told her not to do that, suggesting she either leave or lock all her doors and windows in case he came back. Lyons reportedly said she would shoot him if that happened.
Daniels returned to the house after the deputies left around 9:50 p.m.
The next 911 call from the Vance Street home came at 10:57 p.m., reporting the shooting.
Daniels’ mother and son, Joseph, both said in court that he was flawed but didn’t deserve to die.
“Why did Brandy have to shoot Roy?” Plummer asked through tears. “She could have left when the police were there the first time. How long did she sit waiting with a gun for him to come back?”
Cook read several statements from witnesses stating that Daniels could get violent, but only when he was drunk or high. They said Lyons also was violent toward him when she drank or took pills.
A social worker testified that Lyons took required parenting classes, agreed to counseling for herself and her daughter and submitted to drug screenings, which came back negative.
Contact reporter Karissa Minn at 704-797-4222.
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