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Man jailed for Newton woman’s murder



Staff Writer


A Caldwell County man remains in jail without bond after Catawba County deputies charged him with kidnapping and murdering his ex-girlfriend.

Aaron Obdee Compton, 49, of Granite Falls, is accused of taking Tabitha Spake Heavner, 40, from her home on Rocky Ford Road in Newton around 4:30 a.m. Wednesday before driving her down U.S. 321 South through Lincoln and Gaston County, where she jumped from the vehicle and was struck and killed on the busy highway.

According to Catawba County Sheriff Coy Reid, Compton entered the woman’s home by way of a window.

The Catawba County Communications Center released Heavner’s frantic 911 call Wednesday afternoon. During the call, she first tells a dispatcher that someone is inside her home.

A few seconds later on the tape she screams, and a man’s voice can be heard in the background.

The victim’s loud shrills continue for most of the recording as she begs the man, who sounds calm, to “please don’t do this.”

Nearly 90 seconds into the recording, silence fills the caller’s end, prompting the dispatcher to state that he thinks the individuals have left the home.

Deputies said Compton stabbed Heavner at least once in the stomach at the residence before putting her in his vehicle and driving down U.S. 321 South.

Around 6 a.m., the victim escaped the vehicle on a stretch of the road located in Gastonia, but Compton grabbed her again and stabbed her multiple times before more than one vehicle, including a semi-truck, hit and killed her.

Reid said it remains uncertain whether the woman was still physically struggling with the suspect when she was struck or if she had broken free from Compton and crossed into traffic at the time of the incident.

Deputies said a Communications Center dispatcher encouraged the suspect to turn himself in.

The dispatcher had Compton’s number and called him numerous times as he drove back toward Catawba County, Reid said.

Compton was taken into custody at a Walgreens in Maiden, nearly two-and-a-half hours after he allegedly broke into Heavner’s home.

According to the North Carolina Department of Correction website, the suspect served time in prison for a second-degree rape conviction in Caldwell County in 1994.

Compton has been charged with one felony count each of murder, first-degree kidnapping and first-degree burglary.

His next court appearance is scheduled for today.

The Catawba County Sheriff’s Office, Gastonia Police Department and North Carolina State Highway Patrol are conducting an ongoing investigation into the incident.


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