Woman accused of killing Gastonia man says she was victim of home invasion

GASTON COUNTY, N.C. — The woman who was arrested and charged with the murder of a Gastonia man in July said she was the victim of a home invasion.

Police arrested Tobika Osborne Friday and charged her with the murder of 30-year-old Kendall Gardin.

Osborne made her first court appearance Monday and did not say much, but took a deep breath when the judge told her she could face the death penalty.

The shooting happened just before 1 a.m. on July 19. Gardin was walking home and was shot on Terra Drive, just around the corner from the home on Saluda Drive.

Gardin's mother spoke to Channel 9 and said he had been sleeping at his grandmother's house that night. He left, and was shot while walking nearby on Terra Drive.

Gaston County EMS said they were called and found Gardin lying in a front yard on Terra Drive. He was pronounced dead at the scene.

On July 19, Osborne reportedly admitted to shooting and killing Gardin. According to search warrants, she knew him as KG.

She told police he came into her home on Saluda Drive, attempted to assault her and take her money.

She said she shot him one time, and he ran out of her home and was found dead nearby.

Police said Osborne is still in jail without bond.

Channel 9's Ken Lemon spoke with the Gardin's mother at court Monday. She said more people were at the house that night and no one reported the shooting or intervened.

She believes other people should also be charged. She said no one in the house called 911 after the shooting and ultimately, she won't have closure until she knows the truth about who else was there and what role, if any, they played in her son's death.

"My heart goes out to ya'll too. I'm sorry it ended this way. I hate that young lady has got to be in jail like this," Gardin's mother said. "If she don't start talking she is going to spend a lot of time in jail and won't get to see her children grow up."

She said she has a picture of Gardin with wings, but she admits he was not angel.

He had a long criminal record, despite his mother's constant warnings, but she said he didn't deserve to be killed.

"Kendal wasn't perfect, but he's still my child and he is still somebody," Gardin's mother said. "Why can't I sleep at night? Because I feel like there's still more to the story."

Shortly after the shooting on July 19, family members started to gather around the crime scene tape, heartbroken and confused as to why this happened.

"People came to try to help him, but of course it's too late, he was gone," the victim's mother said. "He was gone by the time they came for help. He's been laying out there for a long time and I just want to hold him for the last time. I never knew this day would come. I never thought this would happen to Kendall. But I did tell Kendall he was hanging with the wrong people."

"People were saying they heard something that sounded like a firecracker," the victim's mother said. "My mom said people said they heard something like a firecracker. But that wasn't a firecracker, that was my son being shot."

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(Kendall Gardin)

Gardin's mother was extremely emotional when speaking to Eyewitness News.

"I thought he just went to sleep and didn't wake up," she said. "When I left my mom's house he was asleep, so I was thinking he was still sleeping, that he was just…unresponsive. I'm sorry."

"He always looked out for his family, he always loved his family and he loved me and his father with all his heart and all his brothers and sisters," the victim's mother said. "I'm never gonna be the same... I just want to say whoever out there that did this, you will be found."

Neighbors who have lived in the area for years told Channel 9's Gina Esposito that the neighborhood is good and they hope this will be a wake-up call for others.

"We need to come together because God put us here together not to be mad, hurt, and to hurt one another, but to come together," resident Dorothy Davis Avery said. "The only thing I can say is that we hope and pray that we can all come together through circumstances that happened and learn from mistakes."

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