Woman charged with murder in ex-husband’s death

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Jennifer Ann Crampton
Jennifer Ann Crampton

A Pender County woman has been charged with murder in connection with the death of her ex-husband, who died while at the hospital a day after he was shot in the head at a Castle Hayne home.

Jennifer Ann Crampton, 28, of Burgaw, was arrested Monday and originally charged with assault with a deadly weapon with intent to kill or inflict serious injury, after her 31-year-old ex-husband, Robert Crampton, was taken to the hospital with a gunshot wound to his head, according to New Hanover County Sheriff’s Office Spokeman Lt. Jerry Brewer.

Earlier Monday, Jennifer Crampton and Robert Crampton were in a custody hearing in Pender County Civil Court, court records show. No further information was immediately available about the nature of the hearing.

In June, Jennifer Crompton filed for an emergency custody order, which was granted on June 24. She was also granted another temporary custody order on Aug. 10.

Deputies responded to the shooting call at about 5:42 p.m. Monday and found Jennifer Crampton outside the home located in a mobile home park at 2709 Castle Hayne Road, Brewer said.

Robert Crampton was taken to New Hanover Regional Medical Center in critical condition. According to New Hanover Regional Medical Center Spokeswoman Claire Parker, Robert Crampton died at hospital late Tuesday.

In emergency communication audio released by New Hanover County Emergency Management & 911, Jennifer Crampton can be heard on the 911 call that reportedly lead deputies to the home.

“I need an ambulance…my husband has been shot. He’s inside,” Jennifer Crampton calmly told a dispatcher. “When did this happen?” the dispatcher asked.  “A couple minutes ago…He’s in the bathroom,” Jennifer Crampton said.

The 911 communicator asked Jennifer Crampton if the shot was self-inflicted or if someone else had shot him. Jennifer Crampton told the dispatcher that someone had shot him.

When asked if she could explain what happened, Jennifer Crampton cried as she told the dispatcher, “I couldn’t let him…I wasn’t going to let him hurt my son anymore. I couldn’t.”

The dispatcher advised Jennifer Crampton to put her hands where the arriving deputies could see them. Jennifer Crampton then told the dispatcher that she was taking off her jacket and advised she didn’t have anything on her. Moments later, a deputy arrives on scene and the call is ended.

Jennifer Crampton now faces an upgraded charge of first-degree murder in connection with Robert Crampton’s death, Brewer said. She made her first appearance in New Hanover County District Court on Thursday where he was ordered to be held at the New Hanover County jail without bond.

Judge Lindsey Luther appointed Jennifer Crampton an attorney with the Capital Public Defender’s Office. She is scheduled to make her next appearance in New Hanover County District Court on Dec. 3.