Franklin County shooting, kidnapping suspect had lengthy domestic violence record

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Devon Whaley's history of domestic violence is well-documented in the thick file of court records obtained by ABC11.

The records detail a series of scary incidents -- all leading up to last Friday night in Youngsville, when neighbors heard gunshots and dialed 911.

"I just heard two shots next door to me," said Desiree Hopkins' next-door neighbor as she alerted a Franklin County 911 dispatcher to the horror on the other side of her wall at the Hampton Village Apartments.

Youngsville Police say it was Whaley, Hopkins' ex-boyfriend and the father of her 1-year old child Desaree, firing the gun -- shooting Hopkins in the leg and stomach.

"When I looked, the guy was dragging his girlfriend down the stairs," the neighbor says. "And now when I looked outside there is blood coming from their apartment outside."

That's when Hopkins got loose in a desperate attempt to escape.

"She was trying to get away. She was dragged down the stairs and trying to get away," said Youngsville Police Chief Daren Kirts. "And she wrecked (her car) down there."

Shot and wounded, Hopkins crashed head-on into a tree just down the road.

Read more: Authorities say 1-year-old kidnapped by her father found safe.

It's then police say Whaley grabbed Desaree and took off.

An Amber Alert was soon issued, and an anonymous tip led cops to Whaley in a traffic stop in Wake Forest. The little girl found unharmed.

But Whaley had no business at his ex's apartment that night.

Hopkins had a domestic violence order against him in place.

Whaley was arrested on a misdemeanor charge in November for violating the order. He served 55 days in jail. The maximum sentence is 75 days.

Whaley was arrested again in March, this time in Wake County on an unrelated felony drug charge which was later dropped.

He accepted a plea deal on charges of obstructing justice and resisting a public officer.

Whaley was hauled back to Franklin County but received credit for time served and went free.

"There's no question that what has occurred over the last few days is a tragedy. There's nothing in the evidence that was available to us to move forward or from what I can observe in what happened once he returned back to Franklin County that appears that there was some mishandling of this case in the court system," said Wake County District Attorney Lorrin Freeman.

According to court documents, Whaley has been arrested nine times since 2009 and is accused of assaulting 3 different women.

Hopkins told a judge, she found Whaley "hiding in a closet" at home, a year ago. And that he then kidnapped her while she was pregnant.

She called him a "ticking time bomb" and "evil like Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde."
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Documents reveal a violent past for Devon Whaley.



The terror in the court records played out in public last Friday night.

"When I heard the shots, me and my daughter got down," said Hopkins' neighbor. "But when I peeked out he was dragging her and we went back and ran back in the room."

Whaley's sister, Natasha Whaley, also took out a restraining order against him in 2015 after she said he attacked her.

Desiree Hopkins spent the weekend at WakeMed intensive care. She is still recovering there, according to family.

Desaree is being cared for by her grandparents.

Whaley is in the Franklin County Jail under an $870,000 bond.

Whaley is due back in court June 6.

More charges are pending.

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