Deadly connection? A decades long history of domestic violence and a suspected suicide

Deadly connection? A decades long history of domestic violence and a suspected suicide


by STUART WATSON / NBC Charlotte

Bio | Email | Follow: @stuartwcnc

Posted on October 21, 2013 at 11:29 PM

Updated Monday, Oct 21 at 11:41 PM

NAGS HEAD, N.C. -- A Rock Hill man who shot his wife to death and passed it off as a suicide has been jailed again for violating a North Carolina judge’s domestic violence protective order, this time against his sister.

The so-called “50B” protective order was requested by the man’s sister who had been housing him.  Police believe the sister committed suicide just days after her brother was released from jail.

James Pease “Jimmy” Motz had a long history of domestic violence against women, including two divorces and criminal charges.  A rare coroner’s inquest in York County concluded that Motz shot his third wife, Melissa Huntley Motz, under the chin the day after Valentine’s Day, 2001.

For years Motz passed off the shooting as a suicide, even though he lost a wrongful death case to his wife’s parents, Larry and Patsy Huntley of Fort Mill.  Rock Hill detectives never believed the suicide story but the York County solicitor said there was not sufficient evidence to prosecute.

Motz behaved erratically after the shooting, picking up the pistol and firing four shots into the air.  Motz said he was calling for help, but the gunfire also explained the presence of gunshot residue on his hands.

In a very brief interview with NBC Charlotte in the Moss Justice Center in 2009, Jimmy Motz said, “I’m not proud of everything that happened but I did not cause her death.  I did not shoot her.  I did not cause her death.”
According to court records, three years ago Motz went to live with an older sister, Marie Motz Nesbit, at her home at 4312 West Barracuda Drive in Nags Head, on North Carolina’s Outer Banks.

But court records show that at the end of January, after Jimmy Motz slit his wrists and was hospitalized, Marie Nesbit asked a Dare County judge for a protective order, writing: “Sometimes my brother terrifies me...For the last six months his angry, rageful outbursts have gotten worse.  He threatens me with his raised fists and intimidates me and says he wishes he were dead.  I am so afraid of him when he is like this.”
Nags Head police arrested Motz for violating the protective order on September 6.  Dare County court records show he spent 35 days in jail.  He was released on Friday, October 11.

While he was in jail, on September 27, Motz’s sister Marie Nesbit wrote the judge that she had an apparent change of heart saying, “I am 70 years old.  There are words you should never use to intentionally upset someone; and I did.  Jimmy never has touched me or hit me.  I have to live with my wrong doing all my life.  It is a blessing to have Jimmy with me.  Please, please let him come back home.”

Nags Head Police Chief Kevin Brinkley said his department got a call Tuesday evening before 8 p.m. from Marie Nesbit’s daughter asking police to check on her mother’s welfare.  Police said they found Marie Nesbit dead in her home.

Chief Brinkley said there was “no apparent trauma to her body” and “no forced entry” to the home and “no signs of foul play.”  He said, “Instructions were left there for us, for what to happen after she was discovered.  It was a handwritten note.”

Chief Brinkley described the death as an apparent suicide but would not elaborate pending toxicology reports from the Medical Examiner.  He said family members told him Motz is no longer living in the Nags Head area.

“He’s not at the house and won’t be at the house,” Brinkley said, adding that police would continue to enforce the protective order even after Ms. Nesbit’s death.

Ms. Nesbit’s daughter wrote on Facebook, “I lost my best friend. My confidante. My precious Mom.”