Girlfriend accused of killing man in Nash County also faced poisoning charges

BATTLEBORO, N.C. (WNCN) -- The Nash County woman accused of killing her boyfriend by setting his house on fire while he was sleeping could face the death penalty.

A judge denied Tiara Danielle Drake bond at her first court appearance Friday after a deadly fire that occurred around 4:45 a.m. on Red Oak Battleboro Road on Thursday.

The sheriff's office said Drake and her boyfriend, James McNair, had been in an ongoing verbal dispute between the two. Law enforcement had been called to the boyfriend's residence earlier and asked Drake to leave.

PREVIOUS: Nash County man dies after girlfriend sets home on fire, sheriff's office says

Drake returned to McNair's home when he was asleep and started a fire in the home, the sheriff's office said.

Responding firefighters found McNair's body inside the home.

"He was a great person, he helped anyone he could," said Rosaline Spivey, McNair's ex-wife. "If he could help you, he'd help you. It's wrong how he went."

"I don't care what went on with them, nobody deserves to die like that," said De'Sean Bunn, a neighbor. "That's just a terrible situation and I hurt most for the family."

In 2013, prosecutors charged Drake with five counts of attempted first-degree murder after she tried to poison family members by putting Ajax in the cheese they were eating.

As part of a plea agreement, Drake's attempted murder charges were dropped. She instead pleaded guilty to a lesser charge and a judge only sentenced her to probation since she was a first-time offender.

"We never were best friends or anything, but we always spoke to each other and I just never pictured her doing something like that," said Bunn, who went to school with Drake.

Drake's been charged with first-degree murder and first-degree arson in connection with the deadly blaze.


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