Man convicted in death of pregnant girlfriend

Sep. 21—HIGH POINT — A High Point man has been convicted of murder in the 2019 shooting death of his pregnant girlfriend and her unborn child, the district attorney’s office said.

The press release also noted another High Point murder convictions from earlier this summer that involved the dead of a child.

William Jennings Hayes III, 25, pleaded guilty on Sept. 15 to second-degree murder and murder of an unborn child in the death of Tontoria York, who was nine months pregnant. He was sentenced to 18 to nearly 23 years in prison, the press release said.

York was shot once in the chest and once in the back of the head with a small-caliber weapon at the couple’s apartment on Feb. 7, 2019.

Hayes originally claimed he had been gone from the apartment for two and a half hours, and when he returned he saw two men running from the apartment, then he went inside to find York dead on the floor. However, he couldn’t say where he had been, and police didn’t find signs of a break-in.

Hayes was admitted to Central Prison in Raleigh on Tuesday, Sept. 19, to begin his sentence, according to the N.C. Department of Public Safety.

On Aug. 14, Taporscha Franklin, 33, pleaded guilty to second-degree murder and felony child abuse inflicting serious bodily injury in the death of her 1-year-old son at the family’s apartment on Brentwood Street on Jan. 26, 2021. She was sentenced to 12 to more than 15 years in prison.

An autopsy showed the boy died of blunt force trauma to his body. The medical examiner also told investigators there were previous injuries, indicating a history of physical abuse.

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