Woman describes 'horrific' break-in

Published 12:00 am Saturday, October 13, 2012

By Nathan Hardin
SALISBURY – Jill Earnhardt heard someone yelling before her window shattered.
By the end of the night, hardly any of her windows were still intact.
Earnhardt was watching TV in the living room, waiting for her husband to get home from work. Her 10-year-old was asleep in another room.
A man she’d never seen before, later identified as 31-year-old James Monroe, dove through a front window, she said, screaming and cursing at her.
It was about 1 a.m. on Oct. 4. The Earnhardts were staying in a mobile home on Poole Road, and her husband was working a late shift.
“It was one of the most horrific things I’ve ever been in,” Jill Earnhardt said.
The man began flailing around in the window, shattering nearby windows, she said.
“He got all the way in,” she said, “except for his foot – the glass wrapped around his foot.”
She yelled at the man, to find out who he was and what he wanted.
“‘I want to f—— kill you,’ Earnhardt said was his reply. ” ‘Open the door and you can see who I am.’ “The windows sounded like bombs exploding as she ran to another part of the house to get her daughter, she said.
“He had this weird voice, saying, ‘Mommy, you can’t help her now, can you?’ ” Earnhardt recalled.
She called 911 when she first heard the commotion outside, she said, and then quickly phoned a relative who works as an emergency dispatcher. As the intruder thrashed around, she said, she called 911 again and stayed on the phone with a dispatcher until a deputy arrived.
After a few minutes, the man freed himself, backed out of the window and began running from one window to the next, breaking them with his hands, she said.
An arrest report said blood covered the outside of the mobile home. Curtains and blinds around the house were also spotted with blood.
Earnhardt said she still finds glass shards in her hair. She doesn’t want to return to the home.
The Earnhardts were staying on Poole Road temporarily while a permanent residence is built. They’re now staying at another location.
“I’m stunned,” she said. “I consider myself very blessed to be alive.”
At one point in the ordeal, Earnhardt said she covered her daughter’s legs with a towel in a separate room of the home, then laid on her daughter to shield her.
“I thought, maybe he would think that he just killed me and he wouldn’t see her,” Earnhardt said.
At some point, maybe when he heard a siren, the man left. Deputy Joshua McHone found Monroe walking down Poole Road.
He was charged with felony first-degree burglary, communicating threats and injury to real property.
Monroe remained in jail Friday under a $25,000 bond.
Earnhardt praised the Sheriff’s Office for a quick response and those at the District Attorney’s Office for their compassion.
“They were wonderful,” she said. “Very supportive.”
As for what prompted the strange incident, an arrest report said Monroe had a “strong odor of alcohol.” Monroe’s girlfriend, who lives in the area, told authorities he had been drinking and left angry.
Sgt. Carmen Williams found Monroe’s red Ford pickup in a wooded area off Poole Road, its engine running.
Earnhardt said she has applied for a concealed weapon permit since the incident.
“I will never allow myself to be in this position again,” she said.
The mother of two said she will take a permit class at the end of the month. Until then, she’s focused on warning others about what happened.
And working to recover.
“I have to learn how to function again,” she said. “It has paralyzed me.”
Contact reporter Nathan Hardin at 704-797-4246.