laurie Ann ellisOn November 11, 2013 at about 4:08 p.m. the 911 center received a call that a shooting had occurred at 3825 Sharon Church Road, Kinston. Sheriff’s deputies arrived to find Brenda Woodard, age 62, deceased in her bedroom on the floor with a gunshot wound to the back of the head.

Present in the home upon arrival was the victim’s husband James Woodard, daughter Laurie Ann Ellis, and Laurie Ellis’s four year old son. Investigators were called to the scene and questioning began. Based upon the interviews and evidence collected at the scene, investigators charged Laurie Ann Ellis with one open count of murder. Although Laurie Ellis contended that she accidentally shot her mother, the actions of Laurie Ellis immediately following the shooting, deceptive statements given during the initial interview and the evidence found at the scene gave rise to the murder charge. The firearm that was used by Ellis and found hidden in a closet was reported stolen approximately one year prior. It is believed that James Woodard was not present in the home when the shooting occurred and had just arrived back at home after returning from a dentist visit. The four year old son is believed to have been in another room of the home when the shooting occurred.

An autopsy is scheduled for Brenda Woodard for 1:00 p.m. today. Laurie Ellis is scheduled for her first court appearance today in District Court.



Sheriff Chris Hill

Lenoir County Sheriff’s Office