Husband Charged In Death
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Family members and neighbors say the woman, Audrey Stevens Chavis, 33, had finally decided to leave what they said had been an abusive relationship with her husband.
Deputies charged Bobby L. Chavis, 43, with first-degree murder.
"She was trying to find her a place to go," neighbor Phyllis Fipps said Wednesday.
"Actually," added Sessie Fipps, "her intentions were to leave yesterday. I guess things change."
The woman's body was sent to Chapel Hill for autopsy to confirm the cause of death, but the police report indicates that she had been beaten to death with a baseball bat.
"She was in her bed asleep," Detective Richard Talbert said.
Sessie Fipps, who lives next door, said that sometime about midnight or early Wednesday morning she heard some loud banging coming from next door. She looked around outside, but didn't see anything.
"I didn't think to look around the neighborhood," she said.
According to deputies, Bobby Chavis called his sister, Sandra Henderson, from a neighbor's house and told her that he thought he had killed his wife. Henderson called 911.
Deputies arrived on the scene at 1:23 a.m. The first deputy to respond found Chavis and Henderson standing in the yard.
The deputy asked Chavis what happened, and Chavis responded, "You got the call," according to the investigation report. He asked again, and Chavis said, "I killed my wife."
The deputy went into the house and found Audrey Chavis in bed with wounds to her head. He checked for a pulse and found none.
He went back outside and arrested Bobby Chavis. By then other deputies had arrived. They went back into the house and began performing CPR.
When a rescue squad arrived, they moved the victim from the bedroom to the living and began CPR again, but she had no heartbeat and was not breathing. Emergency responders from the county pronounced her dead.
According to the report, Chavis waived his rights at the Sheriff's Department and gave a detailed statement about the incident.
Chavis has a long criminal record and spent more than a year in prison from 1994 to 1995 for a conviction on assault with a deadly weapon on a law enforcement officer. He also spent a month in prison for a conviction of communicating threats in 1994.
He received probation in the past for convictions for cruelty to animals, disorderly conduct and larceny.
According to neighbors and family (who did not want to speak on the record), many people told Audrey Chavis that she should leave her husband. She has four children, two of them with Bobby Chavis. Those two were at home when the murder occurred.
"Yeah, you could (often) hear them arguing," Phyllis Fipps said. "I knew he had an abusive streak. She had told me that. But I couldn't believe he had done that (killed her)."
Sessie Fipps said she had to show officers who were investigating the murder where Audrey Chavis hid her purse to keep him from stealing out of it.
But the Fippses say they could hardly believe it when they heard she had been killed.
"I'm still trying to comprehend," Phyllis Fipps said. "What in the world happened?"
The Fippses describe Audrey Chavis as a good-hearted person who had a good sense of humor and would always greet people with a smile, even when she was struggling.
"She was one of the finest women you'll ever meet in your life," Phyllis Fipps said. "She never deserved what happened to her. That's for sure."
"She had a good sense of humor," Sessie Fipps added. "She was funny. I can remember, I literally sat here and fell out of my chair laughing at her."
They say that Bobby Chavis kept mostly to himself. He would speak occasionally, but not much, neighbors said.
"Bobby was Bobby," Phyllis said. "One minute it was like he was good as gold. But he had some real issues. I guess he let it run him."
She remembers watching him as the police took him into custody. She thinks she'll remember his cool and calm demeanor the most. He never showed a sign of remorse, she said.
"I never once saw any tears or anything like he was upset," she said. "He just sat there. So cold."
Chavis is being held in the Moore County jail without bond. His first court hearing is Aug. 3.
Matthew Moriarty may be reached at 693-2479 or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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