Wellford police Chief David Green said a man has been charged with murder after a woman found dead on Sunday.
Green said the woman was found dead in a car outside the Phresh Threadz clothing store on East Greenville Highway. The victim was a co-owner of the business.
The Spartanburg County Coroner's Office identified the victim as 35-year-old LaTonya Michelle Richards of Roebuck and listed the cause of death as a gunshot wound to the head.
"There was no reason for her to go out the way that she did and I just want to know why," Ashley Bruton said, "Why could you have not just left her alone and let her be? She was doing so good."
Green said the shooting likely stemmed from a domestic dispute. Derrick Burnside, 45, was arrested in the case.
"It's unsettling that it keeps happening around here and unfortunately this time hit so close to home," Shaunna Thomas said, "People always say to get out, but in this case it was more dangerous for her to leave than to stay."
Burnside is charged with murder and possession of a weapon during a violent crime. He was booked into the Spartanburg County Detention Center just before 11 p.m. Sunday.
A close friend of Richards, Shaunna Thomas, issued the following statement on her passing:“Tonya will be sorely missed by her Family and Friends. Although she was quiet, she had a strong presence in all of our lives and any room that she walked in. No one deserves to be selfishly taken from this earth by the hands of another. Domestic Violence has struck this community again leaving us to mourn and pray for change. She did the right thing, she left him, he just wouldn’t leave her alone. Through this tragedy, my prayer is that it helps another woman or man seek help. That’s what Tonya would want.”Burnside went before a magistrate for a bond hearing early Tuesday at the Spartanburg County Detention Center. During the hearing, the judge revealed that Burnside was also charged with driving under the influence and a second weapon offense: unlawful possession of a firearm. The judge denied bond.
Burnside will be held at the Spartanburg County Detention Center until his next court hearing, which is scheduled for September.
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