AUTOPSY: Woman Beaten To Death, Possibly With Hammer

An autopsy shows a woman who was killed hours before a deadly police shootout was beaten to death.

Cynthia Knighten's body was found by Craven County deputies as Lenoir County lawmen began a standoff with her boyfriend, Clarence Douglas Phillips on April 7th. Phillips, along with Deputy Allen Pearson were killed in that shootout, while Deputy Ryan Dawson was wounded.

The autopsy, obtained by WITN News, says the 49-year-old woman died from head trauma caused by a beating, possibly with a hammer. The autopsy says a bloody hammer was found in the house.

The medical examiner says Knighten's body was found in the bed of her Frank Avenue home with a pillow and a note over the her head. There were multiple defense wounds on the woman's hands and the autopsy says there was evidence of a struggle in the home prior to the homicide.

Deputies believe Phillips killed Knighten and then drove to Lenoir County and began shooting a gun, which prompted the standoff with deputies.


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Comments are posted from viewers like you and do not always reflect the views of this station.
  • by Concerned Citizen Location: Greenville on Jun 18, 2009 at 02:32 PM
    Sunshine ... justice has already been served as the person that killed her was killed in a shootout with 2 deputies.
  • by Concerned Citizen Location: Greenville on Jun 18, 2009 at 02:30 PM
    Did the public really need to know this information ? This woman was killed over 30 days ago and in my opinion knowing that she was beaten with a hammer really does not change anything. To be honest in my opinion all that we the public needed to know was that she was beaten to death which was already said 30 days ago. Have some compassion for the family sometimes we the public really do not need all the gruesome details. So what now anytime we see someone with a hammer do we need to call the law.
  • by sunshine Location: washington on Jun 18, 2009 at 02:06 PM
    My heart goes out to the family of this woman. I hope justice is served in this case. No one deseves to be beat to death!
  • by MrT Location: LaNC on Jun 18, 2009 at 02:04 PM
    This is the second woman in a few months that was beaten with a hammer.The one in Jacksonville was the other.I think in both cases ASSAULT HAMMERS were used. ASSAULT HAMMERS can hit multiple times without reloading. Maybe only POLICE and MILITARY should be able to possess ASSAULT HAMMERS!At the very least there should be a 7 day waiting period to cool off before you can go down to the local hardware store and buy an ASSAULT HAMMER!
  • by Sam Location: Over here on Jun 18, 2009 at 12:01 PM
    Isnt that ashame! Why would this man hit his own girlfriend with a hammer to begin with? That is insane. This woman did not deserve to die, but apparently this man did considering he killed a woman and then the Deputy, who was just trying to do his job. Well I would have said to put his man to death row, but it does not matter now. Thoughts and prayers go out to the families of the dead and to the Dawson family as well.
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