911 call: "My mommy's screaming for help"

James Edward Lippert, 48 (Source: HCPD)
James Edward Lippert, 48 (Source: HCPD)
Marsella Lippert (Source: Tammy Butcher)
Marsella Lippert (Source: Tammy Butcher)

MYRTLE BEACH, SC (WMBF) A week after a woman was brutally murdered at her home, officials have released the 911 call her daughter was forced to make as she listened to her mother cry out for help.

According to Sgt. Robert Kegler with HCPD, at approximately 8:40 p.m. Nov. 14, officers responded to an address on Quincy Hall Drive in the Carolina Forest community of Myrtle Beach in reference to a domestic dispute.

When police arrived, James Edward Lippert, 48, met the officers and informed them that he had just killed his wife, 38-year-old Marsella Lippert, following a physical fight in their home.

Officers located Mrs. Lippert with severe facial trauma and what appeared to be several stab wounds throughout her chest area. Lippert was immediately apprehended by police.

Detectives with the Horry County Police Department's Violent Crimes Section along with Crime Scene responded to the residence to conduct their investigation. Through their search, detectives learned that the victim and suspect got into an argument Monday night, which quickly turned into a physical altercation.

During the altercation, James Lippert severely assaulted his wife, before fatally stabbing her, according to police. Lippert was transported to the J. Reuben Long Detention Center and has been charged with murder.

The police report stated the couple's children were in the home at the time of the fight.

In the 911 call the Lipperts' 8-year-old daughter made, much of her words are hard to understand through her tears and pleas. The dispatcher had a difficult time understanding what road the girl lived on and how old she was at first.

She told the dispatcher that her mommy told her to call 911.

"What's wrong with your mommy?" the dispatcher asked.

"I don't know," she cried.

Throughout the course of the phone call, she tells the dispatcher that her dad was lying on the ground outside.

"There's something wrong," she said to the dispatcher.

Marsella Lippert can be heard in the background in what sounds like a plea for help.

"Someone's beating on the door. She's screaming for help, help," the daughter calmly told the dispatcher.

During the call, the girl tells the dispatcher her father told her to go and hide. At that time the dispatcher told the girl to go upstairs and lock herself in her room.

"I got my dad," she said. A male gets on the phone and tells the dispatcher the address. When the dispatcher asks why there's blood, the caller remains silent.

Neighbors and friends in the Covington Lake subdivision were shocked to hear the crime. They said they would have never guessed the couple was in any kind of trouble.

"They were a great couple. We met them last summer at the pool we kind of clicked. Their kids were about the same age as our kids, their two little daughters. We started hanging out barbecuing quite a bit together," said Michael Boyle.

A day after the murder, Marsella Lippert's sister, Tammy Butcher, released the following statement to WMBF News:

We are all deeply saddened and shocked by this tragedy.  Marcy was a devoted and loving mother to two beautiful young girls and a sister to four siblings.  We were blessed to recently spend an early Thanksgiving with her after the recent passing of our mother.  The family is completely shocked by this news but we are confident that the investigation will bring justice to our loving mother, daughter, sister, aunt and friend.  She will be sadly missed by all.

Monday, Ms. Butcher released another statement to WMBF News in regards to funeral and memorial arrangements made for her sister:

This has been a very trying and heartbreaking time for both families.  We are all still trying to make sense of it all.  We realize that the months and years ahead will be difficult for both families- especially the children.  The Lippert girls are residing with their maternal Uncle and Aunt and two cousins of similar ages. They are in a nurturing and loving environment and we will do everything we can to ensure they are taken care of. 

Funeral arrangements have been completed.  A memorial service honoring Marsella's life will be held on Wednesday, November 30, 2011, at 1:00, at Roselawn Funeral Chapel in Princeton, WV.  In lieu of flowers, one may make memorial contribution to:

Tammy M. Butcher
Memo: The Lippert Girls Fund
BB & T Bank
3849 Robert C. Byrd Drive
Beckley, WV, 25880

The family is appreciative of all of the prayers and messages of sympathy that have been received.  This will be the last statement we will issue regarding the tragic events of November 21st and ask for privacy as we continue to cope with the grief and shock.  

James Lippert remains incarcerated at the J. Reuben Long Detention Center.

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