Mother granted protective, custody orders before shooting that led to murder charge is your source for free news and information in the Wilmington area.

Jennifer Ann Crampton
Jennifer Ann Crampton

A woman charged with first-degree murder in the death of her estranged husband was granted a domestic violence protective order, as well as several child custody orders she filed in Pender County Court, in the months before his death.

Jennifer Ann Crampton, 28, of Burgaw, was ordered to be held at the New Hanover County Jail without bond during her first appearance in New Hanover County District Court on Thursday for a first-degree murder charge. Monday night, she was arrested — originally charged with assault with a deadly weapon with intent to kill or inflict serious injury — in connection with a shooting that sent her 31-year-old ex-husband, Robert Crampton, to the hospital with a critical gunshot wound to his head.

According to New Hanover Regional Medical Center Spokeswoman Claire Parker, Robert Crampton died at the hospital late Tuesday. New Hanover County Sheriff’s Office Spokesman Lt. Jerry Brewer said Jennifer Crampton’s charges were upgraded to first-degree murder on Wednesday.

The incident occurred at a mobile home park at 2709 Castle Hayne Road. Deputies responded to a shooting call at home in the area at about 5:42 p.m. Monday, Brewer said. Jennifer Crampton was outside the home when deputies arrived on scene. According to the 911 call released by New Hanover County Emergency Services, Jennifer Crampton placed the call that alerted authorities to the shooting and led them to the scene.

When a 911 communicator asked Jennifer Crampton 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.”

Earlier Monday, Jennifer Crampton and Robert Crampton were in a custody hearing in Pender County Civil Court, court records show. Port City Daily attempted to access the court records from the hearing but those records are currently in court for pending custody matters.

In June, Jennifer Crompton filed for both an emergency custody order for her child and a domestic violence protective order against Robert Crampton. The domestic violence protective order was granted in late June, along with a custody order on June 24.

In the complaint she filed for the protective order, Jennifer Crampton claims that during the week of May 25-30, Robert Crampton threatened to hit her while she was holding her 3-year-old son and took the keys to both of her cars.

She then claims that on May 24, “my son…told me that ‘daddy hurt his butt’ ” and also between June 19-20 her son reportedly told her again that “daddy hurt him,” according to the complaint.

According to civil court records, the couple had been through several custody battles since the protective order was issued in June. The courts granted Jennifer Crampton a temporary custody order on Aug. 10 and again, on Aug. 20.

Robert Crampton contested the custody orders on Sept. 6, when his ex-wife was ordered to show evidence for her case, according to the clerk. Since her arrest, Jennifer Crampton’s father filed for custody of the child on Thursday.

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