A woman arrested for murder Sunday by the Wilkes Sheriff’s Office had taken out domestic violence restraining orders against the man she is charged with fatally shooting outside her home.
Rachel Leigh Palmer Bentley, 38, of 319 Highland Place, Roaring River, was charged with murder as a result of the death of Dwight Kelly Payne, 44, of 883 Foster-Payne Road, Boomer. Bentley was ordered held without bond in the Wilkes County Jail in a first appearance hearing Monday in Wilkes District Court.
Court records show Bentley secured a temporary restraining order on July 10 requiring that Payne stay at least 250 feet away from her or her children and that he not threaten, harass or intimidate Bentley at home or at her workplace. The matter was supposed to have been heard in court on Aug. 10.
Bentley also took out a temporary restraining order on Payne on March 16, but it was dismissed for failure to prosecute on March 23. This means she didn’t appear in court when the matter went before a judge.
Payne was charged with second-degree kidnapping and assault on a female on March 9 as a result of an incident at 296 Highland Place, Roaring River, with Bentley listed as the victim. Bentley said then that Payne forced his way into a home, assaulted her, forced her into room against her will and wouldn’t let her leave.
Payne was also charged with assault on a female on June 1 and July 5 in private warrants taken out by Bentley, said Kerr.
Major Logan Kerr of the Wilkes Sheriff’s Office said deputies responded to a disturbance call at 319 Highland Place, Roaring River, at 10:24 a.m. Sunday. Kerr said that upon arrival, they located Payne, saw that he had a gunshot wound and called medical personnel in to render aid.
He said it later was confirmed that Payne died as a result of a single gunshot he suffered while outside the residence. He said the firearm used, identified as a shotgun, was recovered at the scene. Bentley was taken into custody at the scene.
Deputy Joel Mathis reported that as he was pulling up to the residence in response to the disturbance call, he saw the suspect on the second story balcony of the house and then saw Payne lying face down in the driveway, about 40 yards from the house.
The initial report was that Payne was causing the disturbance. Kerr said a neighbor made the report.
The old two-story house where the incident occurred once belonged to the Key family, including the late Lee Key. Highland Place is a short dead end road off South Lomax Road in the Shepherds Crossroads Fire District.
Shepherds Crossroads Fire Department first responders and Wilkes Emergency Medical Services responded. The State Bureau of Investigation is assisting the sheriff’s office in the investigation.