RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) – A guilty verdict in the case against Brian Sluss marks the first time a law passed in 2017 has been put into practice.
Sluss was sentenced to life behind bars Thursday for the murder of Monica Moynan, a Holly Springs mother of two.
In 2014, 22-year-old Britny Puryear was killed at the hands of a former partner. Logan Connail McLean was ultimately sentenced to serve a prison term of between 26.4 years and 32.7 years
“Where there’s this pattern of domestic violence, these are terrible, tragic homicides that unfortunately happen way too often,” said Wake County District Attorney Lorrin Freeman.
After Puryear’s death, her parents fought to put new laws into place. In 2017, Gov. Roy Cooper signed Britny’s Law.
Wake County District Attorney Lorrin Freeman said under the law, first-degree murder convictions require pre-meditation.
Britny’s Law allows previous domestic violence to be used as proof of pre-meditation.
“For those people who engage in domestic violence, if you end up killing your partner then we’re coming at you with everything we’ve got and we have every intention of sending you to prison for the rest of your life,” Freeman said.
The guilty verdict in the 2019 murder of Moynan is the first time this law was put into practice in the state. In his own testimony, Sluss admitted to striking Moynan on several occasions.
“We got in an altercation. I did hit her. And she did pack up her stuff and she did go move into her parents,” Sluss said on the stand.
His history of abuse was documented in a protective order Moynan had taken out against Sluss.
“We always hope we won’t have another domestic violence homicide but the fact is that we know the likelihood is that we will,” said Freeman.
So far this year, the North Carolina Coalition Against Domestic Violence counted 16 domestic violence homicides. From 2021 to 2017, the state has averaged 62 domestic violence homicides per year.
For people currently living with domestic violence, Freeman says there is help.
“There are people who are here, who are ready and willing to fight on their behalf,” Freeman said.