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Two arrested in New Year’s Day murder

COLUMBUS COUNTY, NC (WWAY) — Two men are in jail charged with murdering a woman in Columbus County early New Year’s Day.

The Sheriff’s Office says Derrick Devon Pierce, 29, and Antwan Jahmal Johnson, 30, are charged with the murder of Keshia April Ward, 31, of Hallsboro.

Investigators say her children found her body in their home on Bussey Road yesterday afternoon. Ward’s boyfriend, Johnny Lee Tyler, 31, had also been beaten and was taken to the hospital.

Investigators believe the attacks happened early yesterday as the children, who were unharmed, slept in the house. Deputies say there were no signs of forced entry.

Investigators have not yet released a cause of death for Ward. An autopsy is scheduled for today.

According to the Department of Corrections website, Johnson was released from prison in July after serving time for credit card theft, assault on an officer and DWI. His criminal record includes convictions for larceny, breaking and entering and drug possession among other crimes. Record show Pierce was convicted in 2007 for drug possession and carrying a concealed weapon.

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