07/20/04 — Man who officers say shot woman and self was stalker, say woman's relatives

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Man who officers say shot woman and self was stalker, say woman's relatives

By Bonnie Edwards
Published in News on July 20, 2004 2:01 PM

SEVEN SPRINGS -- A man who authorities say murdered his ex-girlfriend and then turned the gun on himself had been stalking the woman before she agreed to meet him, relatives say.

Jamie Faulkner arranged to meet Debra Best of Seven Springs on Sunday, her relatives said this morning.

Lenoir authorities say the 31-year-old Faulkner of LaGrange shot Ms. Best in front of her 8-month-old daughter, April, and her cousin Susan Holland, on Roy Sutton Road in Lenoir County. Ms. Best, 19, lived at 3523 N.C. 111 South near Seven Springs.

Debra Best

Debra Best

"We went and picked him up at Sears," said Ms. Holland today of Faulkner. "He had made arrangements to meet her there from a friend's house.

"We left there and took him back to the friend's house where he said he had some clothes. But all he came out with was one of those pool stick bags. Turned out, that's what the gun was in, and we didn't know."

Ms. Holland, who is 21, said this morning that Faulkner told them to turn on a dirt road, that it was a shortcut to his mother's house where he was living. He told them to stop the car.

"I stopped, and he pulled the gun on me. He wanted April and me to get out of the car. Debra said, 'No!'"

She said Debra insisted that she and Faulkner get out of the car. He stepped out of the back seat on the driver's side. Debra stepped out of the front passenger side.

"I looked over at Debra and he pulled the trigger. ... I looked at him, and he shot himself. I looked at the baby. She was looking out the window when Debra hit the ground. ... I don't believe he did it in front of that baby. I don't understand why."

Ms. Holland said she told Debra on Sunday not to meet Faulkner.

"'Something is going to happen to you,'" I said. She thought I was stupid. She said, 'He won't hurt me.'"

Family members said Faulkner would hide in the woods and in the barn behind the house where Debra lived with her adopted father, Gilbert Garris, on N.C. 111.

"I ran him off several times," said Garris.

The baby is with Tammy Mitchell, Ms. Best's mother. She is doing well, the family says.