The husband of a Shelbyville grandmother robbed and gunned down in North Carolina told Fox59 he is happy to learn three people have been arrested in the case.
Barbara Preidt, 76, was shot and killed in September at the Fairfield Inn Hotel in Cherokee, N.C., by a suspect who ran off with her purse and around $5,000.
On Thursday, Cherokee police revealed that they had arrested 36-year-old George Nobles, 20-year-old Ashlyn Carothers, and 43-year-old Dwayne Edward Swayney. Police believe Nobles was the gunman.
According police, the search warrant and arrests came from following up on leads recent information regarding the case.
Preidt’s husband John Preidt Jr. said he found out about the arrests early Friday morning and was elated, but he’s already lost too much.
"We were married for 50 years and we were happy. We raised seven kids," he said. "I feel like he robbed me out of 10 years.”
The retired couple had been saving money to travel together and left for a road trip to Jacksonville, Fla., in September.
Preidt said they stopped in Cherokee to get some rest.
"There's a casino over there so we went over there, messed around a little bit and went back to the motel," he said.
"She got out of the car and I started to get out of the car and I heard her yelling, 'Leave me alone, leave me alone, get outta here!' And I just ran over there and he was pulling her on the ground with her purse… I jumped him and, hell, he just went like this and I was on the floor. I couldn't do nothing. Then I heard a big bang. A shot."
Preidt said he checked on his wife, who told him she thought she had been shot. He called police, but his wife died a few moments later.
Since then, not a day has gone by that Preidt hasn’t thought about that night and what he could’ve done differently to save his wife.
Cherokee Police Chief Ben Reed issued the following statement on the department’s Facebook page:
“This investigation has been ongoing for nearly two months and our law enforcement officers and the Preidt family have been very diligent in solving this case. Our officers have done an outstanding job and we are extremely encouraged by these arrests, many questions have been answered. But there is a lot of work yet to be done to prepare for the prosecution for this case. This is a great example of law enforcement agencies and our community working together. I thank the Lord for what has been done and we will do our best to pray for the families of everyone involved.”
Nobles is charged with first degree murder, armed robbery, felon in possession of a firearm, and pending charge of manufacturing marijuana.
Carothers is charged with aid and abet armed robbery, aid and abet homicide in first degree, and pending charge of manufacturing marijuana.
Swayney is charged with tampering with evidence.