WAKE FOREST, N.C. (WTVD) -- The man charged with murder in connection with a woman's death made his first appearance in court Thursday morning.
Terrance J'Von Hartsfield, 33, of Wake Forest was arrested and charged Wednesday after a woman's body was found in a car in the parking lot of the Youngsville Police Department.
Wake Forest police arrested Hartsfield hours later and charged him with murder in the death of 54-year-old Jacquelin Beckwith. Hartsfield was also charged with possession of a firearm by a convicted felon.
Beckwith's children, nephew and godson were also in court. The family tells ABC11 that Beckwith was getting out of an abusive relationship when she was killed. Her nephew questioned why Hartsfield killed his aunt.
"To be honest with you, it has been a real shock. It feels numb and I can't believe she's gone. She had a restraining order against him, why did he go there and kill her? Why?" Maurice Beckwith asked.
Police said after allegedly killing Beckwith, Hartsfield put her in a car, drove to the police station and reportedly told them "a dead person was in his car."
Beckwith's godson, Michael Crudup, said she was a fun-loving woman who deeply cared for her children and grandchildren.
"She was a strong woman, loved, family loved her. She was an uplifting woman, everybody loved her," Crudup said.
Documents reveal suspect's violent history
Court documents obtained by ABC11 show a history of charges for violence against Beckwith by the man accused of killing her.
Hartsfield has been charged twice in the last few months for assaulting Beckwith, according to the documents. In May, he was accused of burning a cigarette on Beckwith's face, and in June he was accused of repeatedly punching her in the face and eye.
Before being accused of her murder, Hartsfield was out on bond and had been ordered not to have contact with Beckwith.
Beckwith was in the process of breaking away from the relationship when things took a violent turn Wednesday, the family said.
Hartsfield could face the death penalty. He's in jail without bond.
Domestic Violence Resources
The National Domestic Violence Hotline: (800) 799-SAFE (7293)
The North Carolina Coalition Against Domestic Violence: (919) 956-9124
24-Hour Crisis Lines
(866) 291-0855 (toll-free)
(919) 828-3005 or (866) 291-0853 (toll-free)