MEMPHIS, Tenn. — A man has been charged with the murder of his 55-year-old fiancée in Whitehaven.
On March 15, Memphis Police responded to a domestic fight call in the 5000 block of Hornsby. Once there, officers say they heard yelling and screaming near the home. They knocked on the door several times and heard a female say, “Help! He’s got a gun! Kick the door in.”
The woman was later identified by police as LaGracia Hardin.
MPD tried to get inside the home but could not. The suspect, Norris Lyles, 63, eventually opened the door. He was wearing a white t-shirt covered with blood stains.
According to reports, Lyles was ordered to get on the ground. He replied, “You get on the ground,” and reached for a gun in his waistband. Officers then tased Lyles in his upper back.
Lyles was taken into custody and sent to Regional One Health in non-critical condition.
Officers found Hardin in the backyard lying on the ground. She was suffering from multiple lacerations in the upper left corner of her head. She was taken to the hospital, where she later died.
Court records show that investigators found a floor lamp covered in blood. They believe it was the murder weapon.
Lyles and the victim were engaged to be married and lived together at the home in Whitehaven.
Deborah Clubb, the executive director of the Memphis Area Women’s Council, is also an advocate for women and survivors of violence.
“So, why in this situation or any other somebody chooses to beat someone to death who is supposed to be and had been told was that loved, cared for a person? Working on this this long, I’m still mystified how that can be the outcome,” Clubb said. “It’s just miserable and so sad and it happens so regularly in our community that people experience this so often living through to be beaten another day and too often as well ending up killed.”
Memphis Shelby Crime Commission data shows last year there were more than 2,200 domestic violence cases, but reported cases are believed to make up only a fourth of what really is happening and that’s why survivors are told to always seek help.
“So, women and children or even men who are being brutalized in a relationship, any LGBTQ, anybody who’s in a quote “loving” relationship that’s actually brutal, I urge them to seek help,” Clubb said.
Norris Lyles is charged with second-degree murder and assault on first responder. He is set to appear in court Monday morning.
Clubb said if you or someone you know needs help getting away from an abuser, you can always reach out to organizations such as the Memphis Area Women’s Council, the Family Safety Center of Memphis, and the Abused Women Services of the YWCA.