• 48°

Woman gets 10 years with guilty plea Stabbing death in 2009 called second-degree murder

SALISBURY — With a handful of tissues, Della Woodard blotted her eyes Friday afternoon and described to a superior court judge life after her son was stabbed to death in December 2009.
“I never would have claimed him to be a saint — that’s not human,” she said. “But he deserved to live.”
Elizabeth Fesperman Whitley pleaded guilty to second-degree murder Friday in the stabbing of 30-year-old Willie Woodard.
Whitley was sentenced to no less than 10 years in prison up to a maximum of nearly 12 years. She will receive credit for three years spent in Rowan County jail.
Prosecutors painted the picture of a volatile relationship between Whitley and Woodard, who lived together in a mobile home off Highland Park Drive near Hurley School Road.
Authorities said Woodard was known to stand near Walmart on Arlington Street with a sign asking for donations.
By night, the couple drank heavily, attorneys said.
On Dec. 15, 2009, officers were called to a reported self-inflicted stab wound. Both had been drinking.
Woodard was found stabbed in the chest. Blood was on the couple’s mattress, which was on the floor, and on a knife and nearby bathrobe.
In final comments Friday afternoon in Rowan County Superior Court, Whitley maintained she did not stab her companion.
But she didn’t save him, she said.
“I loved him, too,” Whitley said, crying. “And I miss him everyday, too.”
Rowan County District Attorney Brandy Cook opened the plea hearing by outlining her case.
Cook told the court investigators found blood on items throughout the home and?Whitley’s statement to officers afterward was filled with inconsistencies.
Special Superior Court Judge Craig?Croom, of Wake County, accepted the agreement. The hearing lasted about 40 minutes.
Before she was led away by officers, Whitley kissed her hand and held it out to a small group of family members.

Contact reporter Nathan Hardin at 704-797-4246.

Comments

Comments closed.

Education

RSS budgeting for tens of millions in federal COVID-19 relief funding

East Spencer

‘Back in full swing’ for the spring: East Spencer community gathers for food, fun and fellowship at Spring Fest

Local

Rowan native Lingle among those honored with NC Military Veterans Hall of Fame induction

Business

Former pro baseball player, Tar Heel standout Russ Adams finds new career with Trident Insured

Education

Profoundly gifted: Salisbury boy finishing high school, associates degree at 12

Local

Cheerwine Festival will stick to Main Street, stay away from new park in September

Lifestyle

Celebrating Rowan County’s early cabinetmakers

Education

Service Above Self announces youth challenge winners

Business

Economic Development Commission creates search tool for people seeking Rowan County jobs

Columns

Amy-Lynn Albertson: Arts and Ag Farm Tour set for June 5

High School

High school baseball: Mustangs top Falcons on strength of hurlers

Business

Biz Roundup: Application process now open for Rowan Chamber’s 29th Leadership Rowan class

Sports

Keith Mitchell leads McIlroy, Woodland by 2 at Quail Hollow

Nation/World

States scale back vaccine orders as interest in shots wanes

Nation/World

Major US pipeline halts operations after ransomware attack

News

NC budget dance slowed as GOP leaders differ on bottom line

News

Judge limits footage that family can see of deputy shooting

Coronavirus

People receiving first dose of COVID-19 vaccine grows by less than 1%

Education

Rowan-Salisbury Schools brings Skills Rowan competition back to its roots

Business

Weak jobs report spurs questions about big fed spending

News

Judge limits footage that family can see of deputy shooting in Elizabeth City

Sports

Woodland, two others share lead; Mickelson plays much worse but will still be around for weekend at Quail Hollow

Business

Former NHL player to open mobster themed bar in Raleigh

Nation/World

California population declines for first time