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Jessie Owenby appears in a mugshot

A North Carolina woman was arrested and charged in connection with a man who was stabbed to death earlier this week.

Jessie Renae Owenby, 47, stands accused of murder in the first degree over the Monday, March 28, 2022 killing of Charles Barber.

The victim in the case, a father, left a harrowing and heartfelt message as he lay dying on the floor of a neighbor’s residence.

“Tell my kids that I love them,” Barber told his neighbor at the apartment complex where he lived and died in Statesville, N.C.

It is unclear how many children the father is survived by. Equally unknown is what motivated the alleged murderer.

According to a witness reportedly interviewed by Charlotte-based ABC/Telemundo affiliate WSOC, at around 8 p.m. on the night in question, the victim, who was suffering from stab wounds to the chest, made his way into another unit before collapsing to the ground and leaving his final message, imploring the witness to call the police.

The outlet reports that multiple neighbors confirmed Barber had been stabbed in the chest and that they tried to help and render aid to the wounded man as they waited for first responders to arrive.

Court documents obtained by WSOC say that both the defendant and Barber lived at the Forest Park Gardens apartments on the east side of town. Neighbors there told the TV station that the alleged killer and her alleged victim were involved romantically.

“I’m just sad about it,” neighbor Vickie Moten told the outlet. “I hate that it happened because that’s my friend. She’s a good girl.”

Other neighbors were perplexed about the tragic turn of events.

“I couldn’t believe it because they were so friendly out here,” James Moore added in comments WSOC. “She just went off the deep end.”

One of the residents at the red-brick apartment complex said they saw Owenby follow Barber into the second apartment as he pleaded for help from those inside. The defendant initially denied any role in the violence and said that she loved him, according to that witness.

The outlet also reports the couple had been seen earlier in the day hanging around outside with their neighbors. The day before Barber was killed, one neighbor said, Owenby gave them a house plant.

The defendant was arrested by the Iredell County Sheriff’s Office.

Details on the homicide are currently scarce. No public statement on the case has been made by law enforcement.

Owenby appeared before a judge and was arraigned on the first-degree murder charge on Tuesday, March 29, 2022.

According to WSOC’s Dave Faherty, she requested a court-appointed attorney during those court proceedings and was taken back to jail where she is being held without bond. According to jail records reviewed by Law&Crime, the defendant is currently detained in the Iredell County Detention Facility. She was booked just after midnight.

According to Tarheel State court and probation records reviewed by Law&Crime, Owenby has a lengthy record largely comprising small-bore misdemeanor offenses as well as minor felony conviction related to drugs. She does not have any violent prior convictions.

[image via Iredell County Detention Facility]

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