Deadly Struggle

May 3, 2008 12:00:00 AM PDT
Clovis Police say Cantrell Ellis broke into his wife's house, smashing out a window to get to her.Police spokesperson Janet Stoll Lee explains what happened. "The scene unfolded this morning at 2:26 with an urgent phone call to the Clovis Police Department. She called to say her husband had broken into her home she was fearing for her life, officers arrived within three minutes to find her badly stabbed inside her home, stabbed numerous times. "

Paramedics were unable to revive the woman. The husband was briefly hospitalized with cuts to his hands, and then taken to jail.

The couple's two children, a 7 year old boy and 18 month old girl were in the home at the time, but were not physically injured.

Neighbor Peggy Jeffries is stunned by what happened. "They just moved in. The 7 year old boy is the one that I was aware of because he had come to the house and played with the kids. I run a day care and he was down there playing with the kid's just yesterday afternoon. A sweet kid, well mannered. We had a great addition to the neighborhood then woke up to this, this morning."

A man who says he is a longtime friend of the family stopped by the crime scene. He says he wasn't aware of the couple's latest problems, but helped them deal with a previous tragedy.

"I've known them for about 8 years now." He said. "Real close. I actually was a pall bearer for their son's funeral."

In 2004, the couples oldest son, ten year old Cantrell Ellis Jr. was killed when hit by a truck. The family went to court and was awarded a large settlement in the child's death.

One person close to the family said the money had become a source of friction in the marriage.

Cantrell Ellis lived about a mile away from his wife's house.

While neighbors didn't get a chance to know her, Peggy Jeffries says she was trying hard to make a new home and a new life for herself and her children. "She was doing a great job it was looking very cute. First thing she did was put a wreath on the front door. Which made it look very welcoming, and then she put some vases and a bench and a little tree up at the entry way and it looked like a very homey, welcoming place."

Cantrell Ellis is in the Fresno County Jail on charges of murder and attempted murder. The two children were taken into protective custody and are expected to be placed with relatives.

The death of Charlotte Ellis is the first apparent murder in Clovis in two years.


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