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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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