Saturday, June 25, 2022

Rocky Point man found guilty for shooting son’s on- and off-again girlfriend

Judge R. Kent Harrell sentenced Willoughby to 200 to 252 months in the Department of Adult Correction. (Port City Daily photo/file)

PENDER COUNTY — A Rocky Point man was sentenced Thursday to 200-plus months in prison for the second-degree murder of his son’s on- and off-again girlfriend, according to a press release from the district attorney’s office.

Daniel Lewis Willoughby Sr., 68, was found guilty by a Pender County jury.

The charges stem from an incident on May 3, 2020, Willoughby’s 67th birthday. On that day, Carlene Brannon was arguing from outside Willoughby’s home on Wild Turkey Trail with his son through a window.

During the fight, Willoughby reportedly said: “I am going to take care of this.” He walked onto the front porch with a 0.410 buckshot caliber shotgun pistol and fired from about 30 feet away, a witness testified. Two of three pellets struck Brannon, one through her heart.

According to the DA’s release, Willoughby then went into his bedroom, where he drank alcohol and watched TV, as Brannon succumbed to her injuries. She was 40 years old.

Pender County Sheriff’s deputies responded to reports of gunshots and charged Willoughby.

“Upon the arrival of deputies, a female victim was found outside of the residence with an apparent gunshot wound,” previous Port City Daily reporting noted.

Paramedics attempted life-saving measures before pronouncing Brannon dead at the scene.

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Alexandria Sands
Alexandria Sands is a journalist covering New Hanover County and education. Before Port City Daily, she reported for the award-winning State Port Pilot in Southport. She graduated from UNC Charlotte and wrote for several Charlotte publications while there. When not writing, Williams is most likely in the gym, reading or spending time with her Golden Pyrenees. Reach her at or on Twitter @alexsands_

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