ERWIN, N.C. (WNCN) — Harnett County deputies say a woman is being charged with murder after shooting her cousin multiple times and killing him.

On Wednesday, deputies said they were called to a home on Elmon Gilchrist Lane in Erwin in reference to a reported trespassing with shots fired.

Elmon Gilchrist Ln, Erwin DEATH INVESTIGATION 11/02/2022
Courtesy: Harnett County Sheriff’s Office

When deputies got to the scene, they said they found 42-year-old Christopher Joe Pearce lying in the yard with a gunshot wound to his upper chest.

He was pronounced dead at 9:13 a.m. after deputies and EMS tried to save his life, according to the sheriff’s office.

Investigators said Pearce’s cousin, 23-year-old Rachel Diane Ferguson, shot him several times with a pellet gun.

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Upon further investigation, they said Pearce lived at the home with Ferguson, her husband and her child.

A pellet fired from the pellet gun was the cause of Pearce’s death, according to an autopsy report released Thursday.

Investigators arrested Ferguson at her home the same day.

She is charged with:

  • Second-degree murder
  • Assault with a deadly weapon inflicting serious injury
  • Three counts of assault with a deadly weapon
  • Cruelty to animals

Deputies said she was charged with ‘cruelty to animals’ after they found a dog at the home with a severe injury caused by a chain wrapped around its neck.

Ferguson received no bond on the second degree murder charge and a $100,000 secured bond on the remaining charges.

She is currently being held at the Harnett County Detention Center.