Winston-Salem police said a man stabbed his girlfriend to death in her front yard Monday night while her daughter and infant grandson were in the house.
Officers were called to 305 Upton St., near Stratford Road, about 8:50 p.m. and found the body of Cheryl Annise Bethea, 43, outside her home. They also found her boyfriend, Ferjus Bernard Moore, 52, at the scene.
He had lacerations on his body and was taken to Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center for treatment.
Police have issued an arrest warrant for first-degree murder for Moore but he has not yet been served with it, Lt. Steve Tollie of the Winston-Salem Police Department said Tuesday. He said Moore does not have any life-threatening injuries and is in stable condition.
Tollie said that Moore and Bethea had been arguing just before she died. He declined to describe the nature of the argument but said the entire incident happened outside the house. He also declined to say how Moore got cut. Tollie did say a knife was found.
Tollie said that Moore and Bethea had been dating for at least three years and had been living together. Bethea had not filed any restraining orders against Moore. Tollie said detectives are looking into whether police had been called to their house for any domestic-related issues.
Bethea worked for Wells Fargo, according to Josh Dunn, a spokesman for the bank.
Dunn said he could not provide any details about what she did or how long she had worked at the bank. According to her LinkedIn page, she had worked as an operation clerk for Wells Fargo for the past 16 years. She also worked for Easter Seals UCP (United Cerebral Palsy) North Carolina and Virginia for the past nine years.
Bethea was a faithful member of Mount Calvary Holy Church, said Bishop Tejado Hanchell, the senior pastor of the church.
Hanchell said Bethea had been a member of Mount Calvary for more than 10 years and had been active in the youth ministry. She also served on the church’s hospitality team.
“She was the kind of person that anywhere she was needed, she would jump in and fill in,” Hanchell said.
Bethea worked in the background and didn’t seek the spotlight, he said.
“She was a beautiful soul,” he said. “I received a call about four this morning with the news and was just devastated. She was just with us in church (Sunday)…To have her life cut short by domestic violence is a shock to all of us.”
Hanchell said Bethea’s death is a reminder about the need to pay greater attention to the issue of domestic violence.
Bethea had two children, a daughter and a son, and she also had a grandson, Hanchell said. He said he has been in contact with Bethea’s daughter.
Moore has been convicted of misdemeanor assault on a female several times in the past, according to court records. He was convicted once in 1989, twice in 1995 and once again in 2007 on misdemeanor assault charges. None of those assaults involved Bethea. Details about the charges are not available because the paperwork has long since been destroyed, per policies of the Forsyth County clerk’s office.
He paid a $50 fine for the 1989 incident, according to court records. He received suspended sentences and probation for the incidents in 1995 and 2007.
Moore also served four years in prison on a 1999 armed robbery conviction, according to records from the N.C. Department of Public Safety. He was released in 2003.
Bethea’s death is the 11th homicide of the year compared with five during the same period last year.
Bethea always had a huge smile on her face and got along with everyone, Hanchell said.
“She will be greatly missed by the Mount Calvary family and certainly her family,” he said.