Crime

Neighbor: Confrontation led to fatal stabbing, teen’s arrest

Deanna Watson and her siblings often clashed with her mother’s boyfriend, who the 16-year-old is now charged with stabbing to death, neighbors told the Observer on Thursday.

Watson, a student at Myers Park High, is charged with murder in Omar Dunbar’s killing on Wednesday. She made her first appearance in Mecklenburg District Court on Thursday, wearing shackles and a red county jail uniform covering her 5-foot-3 frame. She was jailed with bail set at $1 million.

Charlotte-Mecklenburg police responded to three separate domestic violence complaints at Watson’s home a week before Dunbar was killed, according to WBTV, the Observer’s news partner. Neighbors said Mecklenburg Department of Social Services had been involved with the family, but a county spokesman said privacy laws prevented him from releasing any information about a DSS case.

Neighbors told the Observer on Thursday that Watson and her siblings often described Dunbar as punishing them by hitting them or kicking them out of the apartment.

Dunbar, 36, had been dating Watson’s mother for three years, said family friend Kamela Friday, who lived nearby.

Watson is the oldest child and a mother figure to her brothers and sisters. On Facebook three summers ago, she posted one video captioned: “Baby sis reading.”

She and Dunbar also had the most acrimony, Friday said. When Dunbar was around, Watson would often knock on neighbors’ doors, saying she’d been put out and needed a place to stay.

On Tuesday morning, neighbors say they saw the police at Watson’s home again. Friday said she later learned from Watson’s siblings that the police were called after Dunbar hit one of the younger boys.

Later that night, Watson’s mother went to work at a nearby Target. Watson was awakened by a confrontation between Dunbar and one of the children, said Friday, who described talking with Watson’s siblings afterward.

“He grabbed (him) by the legs and pulled him out of the bed and pulled him down the stairs,” Friday said. “Deanna was like ‘Leave my brother alone. Leave him alone. Just leave.’ And he spat in her face.”

Dunbar was stabbed during a fight that happened afterward, Friday said.

Friday said two friends called her early Wednesday, saying she needed to check on Watson and her siblings. As she walked toward the apartment, Friday said, “I see the blood because he’s dead in the kitchen. It was all over the floor.”

Ashonda Dunbar, Omar Dunbar’s wife, declined to speak in detail with the Observer, saying only, “What’s being portrayed is not him. That’s all I’m going to say.”

Clayton Hanson contributed.

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