Johnston County

Restraining order preceded Summers murder-suicide

Johnston County sheriff’s deputies say a man killed his wife and then himself Monday in this house near Clayton.
Johnston County sheriff’s deputies say a man killed his wife and then himself Monday in this house near Clayton. jdjackson@newsobserver.com

On the outside, all appears normal at the home of Michael and Jennifer Summers. A wreath hangs on the front door. A flag with the initial “S” waves in the front yard. A trash can waits curbside for pickup.

But on Monday, according to Johnston County sheriff’s deputies, Michael Summers shot and killed his wife, then turned the gun on himself inside their home on Bentley Way in Archer Lodge.

Court records from this spring reveal discord in the home, moments of violence and Jennifer’s fear that the discord could escalate.

At 7:15 p.m. Monday, according to deputies, the Summers’ two sons, ages 11 and 16, heard their parents quarreling and ran to a neighbor’s house for help. When deputies arrived, they found Michael, 46, and Jennifer, 45, dead in an upstairs bedroom

In May, court records show, Jennifer obtained a restraining order against her husband after a violent quarrel in their home. She said Michael took her cellphone, refused to give it back and ultimately threw it into the woods behind the house. He slapped her in the face, threw her to the ground, stood on her chest so she couldn’t get up, then ordered her out their home, court records show.

“I’m not sleeping, nervous about his behavior and anger reactions during the nighttime,” Jennifer wrote in her request for a restraining order. “Mike has high level of testosterone and (is) very strong.”

She ends her statement by saying, “He has never hit me before, nor slapped me in the face.” She adds elsewhere in the documents that his violent outbursts were out of character but notes that the family keeps weapons in the house. Michael was 6 feet tall and 210 pounds.

Jennifer noted in her statement that their children were present as the couple fought and feared for their mother’s safety.

A judge granted the restraining order on May 26 but lifted it 10 days later, on Friday, June 5, at Jennifer’s request. Johnston County Clerk Michelle Ball said the court system hears domestic cases on Fridays.

Johnston County Sheriff’s Office spokeswoman Tammy Amaon said the boys are in the care of grandparents who live in the area.

Drew Jackson: 919-553-7234, Ext. 104; @jdrewjackson

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