Valencia McLean, 31, has been charged with first-degree murder in the shooting death of Willie Breeden

By Christine Pelisek
September 16, 2020 02:37 PM
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Willie Breeden; Valencia McLean
Facebook; Gaston County Jail

A North Carolina woman has been charged with first-degree murder in the death of her boyfriend, who shot her last year.

Valencia McLean, 31, was taken into custody around 2 p.m. Sunday after police were called to her Gastonia home.

The Gastonia Police Department said the shooting death was “domestic-related.”

The victim, 33-year-old Willie Breeden, was shot in the chest and transported to CaroMont Regional Medical Center, where he died.

"This is a couple who has struggled with their relationship for a while,” Stuart Higdon 0f the Gaston County Public Defender’s office, tells PEOPLE. “The resulting shooting was definitely a result of domestic violence perpetrated against her,” he alleges.

It is unclear exactly what led to the shooting, which was the second incident involving the couple in the last year and a half.

In April 2019, Breeden was charged with assault with a deadly weapon inflicting serious injury after he allegedly shot McLean.

According to a warrant obtained by PEOPLE, McLean was shot with an AR-15 style rifle.

The Gaston Gazette reported that McLean sent a statement to the public defender’s office claiming that the shooting was an accident and that Breeden was cleaning the weapon and trying to show her how to use it when it accidentally fired.

McLean was shot in the leg, the Gazette reports.

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The case was dismissed in Feb. 2020, according to the Gazette.

A probable cause hearing for McLean is scheduled for Oct. 1.

She has yet to enter a plea. Her attorney did not return a call for comment.