School counselor now facing murder charges after woman dies following assault

CHOWAN COUNTY, N.C. (WITN) – A school counselor in one Eastern Carolina school system is facing a murder charge after a woman he is accused of assaulting has died.

Chowan County deputies say the assault happened early Tuesday morning on Bella Vista Drive.

They ended up charging Donald Lanier, of Tarboro, with assault inflicting serious bodily injury as well as driving while impaired. Brooks Smith had serious head trauma and she was unresponsive at ECU Health Medical Center, according to an arrest warrant.

Smith died this morning and deputies added a charge of one count of murder against Lanier Thursday afternoon.

The 47-year-old man is listed as a counselor at Martin Millennium Academy in Edgecombe County. The school system says Lanier was suspended with pay last Thursday based on concerns that came to their attention.

Lanier is currently being held in the Chowan County Jail without bond.