Enquirer Herald

Woman charged in killing

YORK -- York police arrested a 48-year-old woman this week after they say she gunned down another woman at Cedar Terrace Apartments.

Margie Smith West of York was charged with murder and possession of a firearm in the commission of a violent crime. Authorities say she shot 54-year-old Pamela Caines of Rock Hill three times Monday evening at West's apartment.

Police don't know why Caines was at the apartment Monday night, said York Police Chief Bill Mobley. He said the women had known each other for a long time and had been in a relationship, although he wouldn't specify what kind of relationship it was.

A few months ago, the two had a falling out, Mobley said, and since then each woman has complained to police about the other.

Police responded to Smith's apartment around 6:30 p.m. Monday after receiving several 911 calls.

When officers arrived, they found Caines lying in a pool of blood at the doorway to West's apartment.

West told police she shot Caines after Caines struck her with a small souvenir baseball bat, Mobley said. But officers found Caines' body was lying as though she had been leaving the apartment, the report stated. Witness accounts and the location and number of the gunshot wounds also weren't consistent with an attack.

Caines was shot twice in the chest and once in the back, said York County Deputy Coroner Ev Amick.

Sandy Dayton and her 16-year-old daughter Nicole Childers had just walked back to their apartment from a convenience store when the shooting happened.

Dayton had taken a case of soft drinks to their home upstairs, while Nicole waited for her at the bottom of the outdoor staircase.

"All we heard is that woman say, 'I'm gonna shoot you,'" Nicole said.

Nicole started running up the stairs and heard gunfire. She looked over the railing and saw Caines crawling out of the door.

"Help me," she said Caines told her. "Please. I've just been shot."

Later, Nicole saw Caines body being removed on a stretcher and burst into tears. Dayton said she'd never seen anything like this in her neighborhood. "It's horrible," she said.

Caines was taken to Piedmont Medical Center, where she died, Mobley said.

West received medical treatment Monday night for chest pains, Mobley said, and was arrested after her release from PMC.

West was in custody at Moss Justice Center Tuesday. Her bond was not set.

This is the first homicide in the city of York in 2008.