Domestic Dispute Turns Deadly

Local mother killed by boyfriend, say authorities

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By Monique Williams

COLUMBIA S.C. (WOLO) -- A Columbia man has been arrested and charged with killing his girlfriend, leaving behind the victim's young son.

If happened just before six this morning in the 300 block of Todd Branch Drive in Columbia.

According to Richland County Coroner, Gary Watts, 35-year-old Tabitha Priester died of a gunshot wound to the head. Her boyfriend, 31-year-old Percy Williams, has been arrested and charged with murder. Richland County authorities say Williams turned himself in shortly after the crime. Priester leaves behind a 6-year-old son, whose father is not the shooter.

Executive Director with Sistercare, a battered women's shelter, Nancy Barton, is saddened but not surprised. She says South Carolina ranks second in the nation for the rate of women killed by men. Her organization will serve some 600 women and children at its three emergency locations this year alone. An additional 6,000 will take part in other preventative domestic violence awareness programs.

She says one way to reverse the cycle of domestic abuse is to educate children earlier about its dangers. If you or someone you know is in an abused relationship, officials say plan an escape and seek the help of an expert. You may contact Sistercare at its 24-hour crisis line at 803-765-9428.

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