Crime SceneThe City of Fayetteville has recorded 31 homicides this year. That’s the most ever in one year. The most recent murder victim was Amanda Williams, 37, of Berwick Drive in the Ponderosa neighborhood. She was stabbed to death by the man police shot and killed moments after her sons, ages 9 and 11, jumped out of a window and ran next door to get help. Mark Anthony Hicks, 31, was Williams’ boyfriend, according to police. He was shot when he lunged at officers seconds after they forced entry into the house, said Interim Police Chief Anthony Kelly. Five officers entered the house and found the woman on the kitchen floor in a pool of blood, said Kelly. 

They told Hicks several times to drop the knife he was holding. One of the officers fired his stun gun, but Kelly said it had no effect. As they attempted to handcuff Hicks, he lunged at the policemen “nearly striking one of the officers,” added the chief. That’s when he was shot. “We have not released how many officers fired their weapons,” said police spokesman Lt. Todd Joyce, but three of the five were placed on administrative duty pending the outcome of an SBI investigation. They are Officers Jason Beldon, William Byloff and Justin Waller. Suspensions are standard in officer-involved deaths.

The brothers are now in the custody of their fathers, said the police chief. “We want to do something for the children for Christmas,” he added, noting that the boys witnessed their mother being murdered. He described the scene as graphic. He said at some point, detectives will have to question the children as to precisely what they saw. 

“Ma’am, my mother got stabbed by her boyfriend,” the older brother told the 911 dispatcher. Police released audio of the 911 calls. Hicks also called the police, admitting on the phone that he had killed someone, and apologizing. “I’m so sorry, I’m at their house and I’m so sorry,” he said.

Much of the situation was recorded by the officers’ body cameras. But Kelly told Up & Coming Weekly the videos are not 100 percent conclusive because the field of vision does not include footage of the officers’ side arms being fired. The video, by law, can only be released to the public by order of a Superior Court judge, said Cumberland County District Attorney Billy West. Chief Kelly indicated he would be reluctant to ask for it to be made public because it’s so graphic. He does intend, however, to let the families of those involved screen the video.

All but one of the 31 homicide cases this year have been cleared with arrests, Joyce said. Two of the 29 instances were double murders. The previous record of 30 was set in 1993. That’s the year that Fort Bragg Army Sgt. Kenneth French, Jr. killed four people at Luigi’s Italian Restaurant, including the owners Pete and Ethel Parrous. French was convicted following a lengthy trial in Wilmington, and sentenced to life in prison without parole. 

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