On August 30, 2013 North Carolina teacher Laurissa Armstrong was shot multiple times outside of her house. She was rushed to nearby Moses Cone Hospital, where she died several hours later.
After investigating the matter, police discovered that Armstrong’s killer was her husband, Bruce Armstrong. Mr. Armstrong was found dead in a rented silver Nissan on the same day he killed Ms. Armstrong. Police believe he likely took his own life.
Police have described Ms. Armstrong’s death as a “domestic violence incident.” Court records show that this was not the first instance of domestic violence involving the couple, and that Ms. Armstrong tried unsuccessfully to have a restraining order placed on Mr. Armstrong before he killed her.
During an August 7th court hearing for a restraining order, Ms. Armstrong said her husband, who no longer lived with her, tried to come into her home on June 30th.
“I was afraid to let him in, so I talked to him through the door… he has hit and jacked me up in the past, so I feared allowing him into my residence,” she said.
Armstrong said that her tired were slashed on July 21st and that the screen on her porch was cut as well.
“I noticed Bruce slowly driving through the parking lot. His behavior was escalating.”
Mr. Armstrong wrote a letter for the hearing in which he denied abusing his wife.
“I have not intentionally harassed the plaintiff and do not intend to do so… I have sent text messages and emails asking her to forgive me and telling her I still love her, but I stopped when she asked me to not contact her anymore,” he wrote.
“I am not a violent person. I did hit the plaintiff and slapped her 30 years ago during a stupid argument… I did grab her by the collar 15-17 years ago, again during a stupid argument over money. Always money.”
Ms. Armstrong was denied a restraining order. Three weeks later, her husband killed her.
News & Record journalist Doug Clark caught up with Judge Angela Foster recently. Foster was the presiding judge who denied Ms. Armstrong a restraining order.
Foster was short on words with Clark, repeatedly saying that she did not have the paperwork on hand to comment extensively on the case. When asked by Clark whether she made the right decision to deny Ms. Armstrong a restraining order, she supported her decision.
“She did not meet the qualifications,” she said. Foster did not elaborate on her decision.
It is easy to criticize Foster, as hindsight is always 20/20 with matters like this. I’m sure no one feels worse about the tragic death of Laurissa Armstrong than Judge Foster.