Saturday, August 25, 2012

Newton, NC: Hickory man charged with murdering his wife

NEWTON, NC — The man accused of stabbing his wife to death on Thursday could face life in prison or death by lethal injection.

That’s what Judge James Honeycutt told Monroe David Byrd Jr. on Friday when Byrd was brought into Honeycutt’s courtroom for his first appearance.

Byrd was charged with murder after police say he stabbed his wife, Amy Marie Byrd, 33, multiple times and left her body in a vacant building where he had been staying on Springs Road.

Law enforcement got a call on Thursday that Monroe Byrd had shown up at a residence in Long View, wanting to hide out.

According to information from the Catawba County Sheriff's Office, Byrd, 46, told someone at the residence that he had killed his wife, claiming that he had done it in self-defense. He left there, driving his wife car.

A sheriff's deputy went to 2695 Springs Road where she observed him sitting in front of the building covered in blood.

Amy Byrd's body was found in the back of that building by authorities, and she had been stabbed multiple times, according to information provided by the sheriff's department.

Christy Ryder, a friend of Amy Byrd, was in the courtroom in Catawba County on Friday and said her friend went to the building on Thursday to sign some papers. What those papers were, Ryder wasn’t sure. She said the couple had been separated for nearly two months.

Honeycutt told Byrd, who stared straight ahead during his appearance in court, the charge of murder is a class A felony and he assigned local attorney Lisa Dubs as Byrd’s court-appointed attorney. Honeycutt said he also would refer Byrd’s case to the North Carolina Office of Indigent Defense Services. He set Byrd’s next court date for Sept. 14.

Ryder was in the courtroom for Monroe Byrd’s first appearance and plans to be at every one of his court appearances from now on.

“Because that was my best friend and my children’s aunt,” Ryder said.

Ryder’s husband is also Amy Byrd’s cousin.

She said she knew something was wrong Thursday when Amy Byrd didn’t answer text messages and at least 10 phone calls from Ryder. She said her friend didn’t express any concern about visiting her estranged husband on Thursday because she had seen him briefly at the beginning of the month and everything was fine.

“It’s like I told her sister-in-law, it’s like a bad dream that we just haven’t woke up from,” Ryder said.

Ryder described Monroe Byrd as a controlling husband who had been trying to get his wife back. She said he kept Amy Byrd away from her family and friends. Amy wasn’t allowed to talk to Ryder when the couple was together, Ryder said.

“It wasn’t good,” Ryder said of the couple’s relationship. “Her relationship was very, very rocky.”

Ryder was a witness when the couple got married on Sept. 13, 2011 after a short courtship. She said Monroe Byrd is originally from Texas and was homeless when Amy met him.

According to authorities, Amy Byrd is the mother of four children. She had no children with Monroe Byrd, Ryder said.

“She was a real good mom,” she added.

Ryder said Amy Byrd was a friendly person.

“Not once did she ever meet a stranger,” Ryder said.

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