HIGH POINT, N.C. -- Eric Dawkins' friends and family were in tears as he faced a judge for the first time, charged with first-degree murder in the stabbing death of Trista Wilson.
The 23-year-old's family showing up in support, but certainly heartbroken over the accusations. Family members say Wilson and Dawkins dated on and off for two years. They called Dawkins a "kind-hearted guy" who "would never do something like this."
Outside the South Elm Towers where the stabbing happened, a memorial for Wilson set up on the roof of her car. Friends and neighbors took time to leave flowers and write messages.
"She was beautiful, she was one of my best friends in the world," Chrissie Carver said.
Carver and Wilson were close. They tried to help each other out when they were in abusive relationships.
"I tried to talk to her and tried to talk to her like she did with me and tell her you know, there's ways to get around this and there's things that we can do, but she loved him enough that she thought she could help change him I guess," she said.
High Point police charged Dawkins with misdemeanor assault against Wilson late last summer. Lt. Curtis Cheeks says Dawkins had two other domestic violence incidents with two other women.
"If you feel like you gotta put your hands on a woman then you just need to walk off, just go. You know, before it gets worse," said Dawkins' brother Aaron Hicks.
Dawkins mother, Lisa Nash, says the couple needed outside help with domestic violence.
"They would've gave him the proper help that he needed in the beginning, this would not occur," Nash said. "The system did not do they job."
Friends of Wilson say her death has been eye opening, noticing she was acting off days before the stabbing.
"These behaviors are a young lady screaming out because she has another situation going on, and that people need to listen, and that people need to sit down and ask and talk about it and see if they can get something out of them," Carver said.
Dawkins faces life in prison or the death penalty. He's being held without bond.