NC NC - Johnnie Rankins, 48, Grover Cecil, 47, Joyce Reason, 36, Windsor, 6 June 1993

los2188

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I know this isn't a high profile case, but I wanted to try and give this cold case some exposure. The way in which the perp stacked these bodies to kill them, speaks to how horrendous this person is. He stacked the bodies in order to "save bullets". But apparently that didn't work, so he decided to stab them. But auspiciously, there were 2 survivors, but one later died after battling cancer. 20 years later, this cases remains unsolved.

http://www.witn.com/home/headlines/20-Year-Anniversary-Of-The-Be-lo-Murders-In-Windsor-210371601.html

On Sunday, June 6, 1993, at approximately 6:15 p.m., a black male who was already in the Be-Lo Grocery Store in Windsor used grey duct tape to bind six victims. He stacked the victims into three piles. He then shot into the piles, killing three of the victims. The fourth victim was shot, the fifth victim was stabbed; both were left for dead. The sixth victim was not hurt.

Description of suspect: • Black male • Medium complexion • 30-35 years of age • Slender solid build • Military style haircut • Light brown slanted eyes • Narrow nose bridge (possible sports injury)

View attachment Murder-Suspect-Sketch.bmp

If you have information about this case, call the Windsor Police Department (252) 794-3111. If you have information about this case or any unsolved case in North Carolina, please contact the North Carolina State Bureau of Investigation by email SBI Operations Center or by phone (800) 334-3000.

$30,000 REWARD for information leading to the arrest and conviction of the person responsible for three murders and three assaults at a convenience store in Windsor in northeastern North Carolina.
 

tlcya

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ugh. sounds like he was not just trying to conserve bullets but almost as if he only had so many and there were more victims than he anticipated and tried to be creative on the fly. Obviously leaving no witnesses was of big import to him.
 

tlcya

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I can only assume the people who survived did not recognize him so why the apparent desire to make sure he killed them all. And when he was not able to why not continue to find a way to finish those victims.

Interesting. Going to try to go find more info on this one. Thanks for the thread, los
 

tlcya

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Now retired Police Chief Rodney Hoggard, remembers it like it was yesterday.

"What happened in there?" asked 9 On Your Side's Kristen Hunter.

"The manager and the cashier at the Be-Lo had closed the store. A cleaning crew had come in to clean up the store, do the floors and that type of stuff and during that time somebody came in the store, evidently had hid in the store," said Hoggard.

The man told employees he was a police officer who had been fired, but investigators now believe that to be untrue. He took the 6 people to the back of the store, bound them with duct tape and forced them to the floor in piles.

"Three by three, two on top of each other. And his intentions were to shoot through the stack. Save ammo," said Hoggard.

Detectives believe the man fired his gun until he ran out of ammunition. That's when they say he went to the kitchen and grabbed a butcher knife, slashing one of the victim's throats and stabbing him so hard the knife broke off in his back.

http://www.wsav.com/story/22209984/9-on-your-side-investigates-be-lo-murders

http://www.ncdoj.com/Crime/Solve-Crimes/SBI-Unsolved-Crimes/BE-LO-Murders.aspx

Six employees was a high number to be inside the store at once. That night, they had closed early and extra help was called in to help strip the flooring.

http://www.wcti12.com/news/belo-kil...ed/-/13530444/20604480/-/ioicrjz/-/index.html

After all these years, a 30 thousand dollar reward is still being offered for information leading to an arrest in the Be-lo murders. The number for the Windsor Police Department is 252-794-3111.

http://www.witn.com/home/headlines/...f-The-Be-lo-Murders-In-Windsor-210371601.html
 

los2188

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Now retired Police Chief Rodney Hoggard, remembers it like it was yesterday.

"What happened in there?" asked 9 On Your Side's Kristen Hunter.

"The manager and the cashier at the Be-Lo had closed the store. A cleaning crew had come in to clean up the store, do the floors and that type of stuff and during that time somebody came in the store, evidently had hid in the store," said Hoggard.

The man told employees he was a police officer who had been fired, but investigators now believe that to be untrue. He took the 6 people to the back of the store, bound them with duct tape and forced them to the floor in piles.

"Three by three, two on top of each other. And his intentions were to shoot through the stack. Save ammo," said Hoggard.

Detectives believe the man fired his gun until he ran out of ammunition. That's when they say he went to the kitchen and grabbed a butcher knife, slashing one of the victim's throats and stabbing him so hard the knife broke off in his back.

http://www.wsav.com/story/22209984/9-on-your-side-investigates-be-lo-murders

http://www.ncdoj.com/Crime/Solve-Crimes/SBI-Unsolved-Crimes/BE-LO-Murders.aspx

Six employees was a high number to be inside the store at once. That night, they had closed early and extra help was called in to help strip the flooring.

http://www.wcti12.com/news/belo-kil...ed/-/13530444/20604480/-/ioicrjz/-/index.html

After all these years, a 30 thousand dollar reward is still being offered for information leading to an arrest in the Be-lo murders. The number for the Windsor Police Department is 252-794-3111.

http://www.witn.com/home/headlines/...f-The-Be-lo-Murders-In-Windsor-210371601.html

Thanks for finding more info on this!! Sad case really. Just horrible. But I assume that whomever did this, left the area because he hasn't been found yet. Such a cold murder.
 

aThousandYearsWide

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Murder Mystery - The Roanoke-Chowan News-Herald

Be-Lo Murders
Murder-Suspect-Sketch.jpg.aspx


Crime Committed or Inflicted: Multiple Murders

Crime Date: 6/6/1993

City/County: Windsor, Bertie County

State: North Carolina

District: Northeastern

Description:
On Sunday, June 6, 1993, at approximately 6:15 p.m., a black male who was already in the Be-Lo Grocery Store in Windsor used gray duct tape to bind six victims. He stacked the victims into three piles. He then shot into the piles, killing three of the victims. The fourth victim was shot, the fifth victim was stabbed; both were left for dead. The sixth victim was not hurt.

Description of suspect:

  • Black male
  • Medium complexion
  • 30-35 years of age
  • Slender solid build
  • Military style haircut
  • Light brown slanted eyes
  • Narrow nose bridge (possible sports injury)
If you have information about this case, call the Windsor Police Department (252) 794-3111. If you have information about this case or any unsolved case in North Carolina, please contact the North Carolina State Bureau of Investigation, (800) 334-3000.

$30,000 REWARD for information leading to the arrest and conviction of the person responsible for three murders and three assaults at a convenience store in Windsor in northeastern North Carolina.

NCSBI - Be-Lo Murders

Be-lo Supermarket Triple Slaying
On a warm June evening in 1993, a man entered a Windsor, North Carolina, Be-lo supermarket and wreaked havoc on six employees.Binding them with duct tape before piling them one top of another and opening fire, local authorities say the gruesome scene can never be forgotten."Things like that you know you never forget, you never forget. It's the worst thing I've seen in approximately 31 years," said Bertie County Sheriff John Holley. "It was really bad. Even the guys that I talk with that have retired. It's on their minds just like it was yesterday also."Three of the employees were fatally shot, two survived with injuries and one was — amazingly — not harmed. The motive of the man, who has never been caught despite a survivor giving authorities a description, remains unknown. A $30,000 reward is still being offered for information leading to the killer's arrest. Notorious Small-Town Mysteries: Ex-Cheerleader Burns to Death, a Supermarket Slaying and More
 

PrivateInspector007

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I wonder if they questioned people that were shopping that day/evening? It is a small town it would seem someone in that town saw him lurking around or getting in/out of his car. He has some distinct features crooked nose, long face/jaw. I wonder if they kept evidence such as the knife? Did they get finger prints? Maybe if they still have some evidence the killer likely left something behind.

Here is an article that goes into a little more detail and a couple of pictures of the store.
Cold Case Re-ignition: The BE-LO Triple Murders
 

dotr

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Just stumbled across this appalling case and although the description of the perp may not quite match, i am immediately reminded of the unsolved Lane Bryant store murders, imo.
Lane Bryant shooting - Wikipedia
June 7, 1993 rbbm.
''Police said the motive was robbery, and that about $3,000 was taken. They were searching for a 20- to 30-year-old man.

The attacker, armed with a .45-caliber pistol, told his captives ″he had nothing to lose, he was a former police officer, he had been fired,″ Perry said''

''Police also were pursuing other leads, including a report that a small white car with Maryland plates was seen speeding north on U.S. 17 shortly after the attack''.

''According to police, the gunman entered the store after it closed at 6 p.m., forced the six to the rear and made one tie up the others with duct tape and dog leashes taken from the shelves.

After the shootings, he placed the six people back on the floor face-down in a puddle of blood, Perry said.


Jasper Hardy Jr., of Edenton, who wasn’t hurt, told the man he couldn’t identify him. Perry said the gunman replied: ″ ‘I’m going to let you live, big man.’ ″

Killed were cashier Joyce Coburn Reason, 36, of Windsor; manager Grover Lee Cecil Jr., 47, of Ayden; and cleaning-crew member Johnnie Rankins Jr., 48, of Edenton. Ms. Reason and Cecil were shot once in the head and Rankins was shot in the back.

Cleaning-crew workers Thomas E. Hardy, 48, of Edenton and Sylvester Welch Jr., 40, of Hertford, were hospitalized in critical condition. Hardy’s throat was slashed and a butcher knife was broken off in his back. Welch, who was shot in the back, managed to crawl to a store phone and call police.''
 

dotr

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Victims - Closing Time

cecil-263x300.png

reason-263x300.png

rankins-263x300.png


Grover Lee “Bud” Cecil, Jr
Joyce Coburn Reason
Johnnie Rankins, Jr

''Notes From FBI Profile:
  • Likely an ex-con who was convicted of a serious felony
  • Despite this, the suspect was likely a model prisoner
  • Possibly affiliated with a religious group while incarcerated
  • Be-Lo murders were likely not his first
  • Very persuasive, possessing a silver tongue
  • Displays composure, representing himself with a friendly demeanor
  • Poses a serious threat to family and friends
  • Has ties—in some form—to the area''
  • ''African-American
  • Dark complexion
  • Mid-30s
  • Very muscular
  • At least six feet tall''
 

dotr

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June 8, 1993 rbbm.
Grocery Shooting Survivor Gave Right Answer
WINDSOR, N.C. (AP) _ Jasper Hardy Jr. was the lucky one with the right answer.

Bound and stacked on a grocery store floor with five other people, Hardy listened in terror - and prayed - as an attacker shot and stabbed the others.

When the attacker came to Hardy, who was underneath a victim, he asked, ″Will you identify me?″

″No, man, I don’t know you,″ Hardy stammered.

″OK, big man,″ the voice said. ″I’ll let you live.″

Moments earlier, Hardy’s brother, Thomas, had given the same answer. But he ended up with his throat slashed and a butcher knife in his back.''

''The gunman seemed at ease. He ordered his frightened captives to bind each other with duct tape and dog leashes from a shelf. Then he ordered them to lie face down on top of each other in three stacks of two.

″He kept saying, ’I don’t want to have to kill anybody,‴ Jasper Hardy said. ″But then he went ahead and did what he said he wouldn’t do.″
 

PrivateInspector007

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This article states: "
Police also were pursuing other leads, including a report that a small white car with Maryland plates was seen speeding north on U.S. 17 shortly after the attack."
and
"The attacker, armed with a .45-caliber pistol, told his captives ″he had nothing to lose, he was a former police officer, he had been fired,″ Perry said."

Also mentioned a broken knife. I wonder if they got his DNA? I know 1993 wasn't as advanced as now but hopefully they kept the knife and other items, maybe try running them through the system? Also, did they research fired officers in Maryland in the late 80s early 90s? Maybe search robberies along the 17/13 highway up to Maryland. Richmond is a large city only about 2 hours from the scene - maybe check for robberies and fired officers there too? The murderer could have been bluffing so that the victims would comply? Seems like a weird thing to say either way.

AP 1993 article: Gunman Kills Three, Wounds Two in Small-Town Grocery Slaying
 

Jeb_Bohn

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This is an incredibly frustrating case. I'm actually the author who created the site that @dotr referenced and have had a few conversations with folks in Windsor regarding this case. Most of them could only provide their personal recollections around the murders which—while incredibly interesting—did little to shed light on the man behind this brutal crime. Law enforcement is mum since the case is still considered active, verified to me by the NCSBI Special Agent in Charge.

While there's no concrete connection, I found it interesting that—just a week prior—a still-unsolved murder occurred in Bear Grass, around 20 miles from Windsor. Audrey Leggett was working at Cherry's Cupboard along with the store's owner. He left to run errands after lunch, leaving Leggett to run things. She was in the middle of a phone conversation when someone walked into the store and she hung up. Sometime later, customers entered and, when they found the store empty, began searching. They found Leggett's body in the cooler; she suffered multiple gunshots.

There was no surveillance footage, no eyewitnesses. Police set up checkpoints but failed to turn up any information. It's also worth noting that Leggett was killed with a .22 while the firearm used in Windsor was a .45.

As for the discussion about where the killer could have fled—assuming the white car with Maryland tags was indeed connected—the possibilities are numerous. The car was seen heading north on 17, which they could have taken to Chesapeake and Norfolk. That area presents the opportunity of going north on US-13, west on Interstates 64 or 264, or continuing on 17. That's not to mention the handful of secondary roads that could have been taken anywhere along the route. There are also a lot of bodies of water where evidence (or even the car itself) could have been disposed of.

Then there's the fingerprints and DNA which have yet to yield a match. I can't speak to the current condition of either sample or the exact type of DNA tests that have been run, though it seems odd that nothing has come from it. This is doubly odd given the FBI's belief that the killer was likely an offender who had previously served time.

One other note that I'll mention before I head off to bed is that the Windsor Be-Lo was outfitted with surveillance cameras, though they were non-functional at the time the murders were committed. Whether the killer knew this and took advantage or he simply got lucky is up for debate. Sadly, there's more conjecture that solid fact when it comes to this case, at least as far as the public is concerned.
 

dotr

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This is an incredibly frustrating case. I'm actually the author who created the site that @dotr referenced and have had a few conversations with folks in Windsor regarding this case. Most of them could only provide their personal recollections around the murders which—while incredibly interesting—did little to shed light on the man behind this brutal crime. Law enforcement is mum since the case is still considered active, verified to me by the NCSBI Special Agent in Charge.

While there's no concrete connection, I found it interesting that—just a week prior—a still-unsolved murder occurred in Bear Grass, around 20 miles from Windsor. Audrey Leggett was working at Cherry's Cupboard along with the store's owner. He left to run errands after lunch, leaving Leggett to run things. She was in the middle of a phone conversation when someone walked into the store and she hung up. Sometime later, customers entered and, when they found the store empty, began searching. They found Leggett's body in the cooler; she suffered multiple gunshots.

There was no surveillance footage, no eyewitnesses. Police set up checkpoints but failed to turn up any information. It's also worth noting that Leggett was killed with a .22 while the firearm used in Windsor was a .45.

As for the discussion about where the killer could have fled—assuming the white car with Maryland tags was indeed connected—the possibilities are numerous. The car was seen heading north on 17, which they could have taken to Chesapeake and Norfolk. That area presents the opportunity of going north on US-13, west on Interstates 64 or 264, or continuing on 17. That's not to mention the handful of secondary roads that could have been taken anywhere along the route. There are also a lot of bodies of water where evidence (or even the car itself) could have been disposed of.

Then there's the fingerprints and DNA which have yet to yield a match. I can't speak to the current condition of either sample or the exact type of DNA tests that have been run, though it seems odd that nothing has come from it. This is doubly odd given the FBI's belief that the killer was likely an offender who had previously served time.

One other note that I'll mention before I head off to bed is that the Windsor Be-Lo was outfitted with surveillance cameras, though they were non-functional at the time the murders were committed. Whether the killer knew this and took advantage or he simply got lucky is up for debate. Sadly, there's more conjecture that solid fact when it comes to this case, at least as far as the public is concerned.
Welcome to Ws Jeb_Bohn, it is nice to have you here!
 

Jeb_Bohn

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Much appreciated! Another detail I forgot to mention last night was that a similar robbery happened 11 months after the Windsor incident, this one at another Be-Lo. This was in Hertford, which is about 35 miles away from Windsor via US-17. Again, the suspect hid inside the store until closing, emerged with a pistol, and bound the employees with duct tape and leashes. Unlike the previous incident, no threats were issued and no one was harmed. The robber in this incident was also wearing a ski mask and the physical description doesn't align with that from the Windsor crime.

It's possible that the description wasn't 100% accurate; these were, after all, people under great duress. It seems unlikely that the killer from Windsor would hang around or return to the area after such a heinous crime. Then again, he may have felt emboldened after not being caught for nearly a full year. Ultimately, whoever committed the crime is psychotic and there isn't necessarily any rhyme or reason to his decision making, at least none that a non-psychopath could make sense of.

That aside, thank you for the warm welcome and I hope that you are all doing well.
 

dotr

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2014
''June 6, 1993 — police say they got a call unlike any other in the town's 246-year history. Here the police scanner traffic from the night of the triple murder.''

rbbm.
Murder Mystery - The Roanoke-Chowan News-Herald
2015
''One thing that Ransome still finds intriguing about this case is all the “chatter” at the time of the murders that claimed the killer as a member of the military or perhaps a disgruntled former law enforcement officer who may have been fired from his job.

“I don’t think either scenario fits this man,” Ransome stressed. “It has always puzzled me that he had only one magazine for his pistol. A person trained in the military or as a police officer always carries more than one magazine. That leads me to believe he wasn’t military or a police officer. All I do know is he is a cold-blooded killer.”
 
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Jeb_Bohn

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It's interesting to note—since you mentioned a quote from Dwight Ransome—that he came under heavy scrutiny years later, though not related to this particular case.

N&O - Meet the SBI's bad guys
Prison Legal News - Controversy Involving North Carolina State Bureau of Investigation Crime Lab

I'm not going to slander the man, and he has since spoken out about these claims, but it's hard not to wonder if the samples obtained at the Windsor Be-Lo weren't mishandled and tainted at some point in the chain of custody. If that's the case, it seems even less likely that the killer will ever be caught.
 

PerhapsIt'sYou

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Do you guys believe robbery was the true motive? Ive heard some people speculate that the robbery was more of an afterthought and the guy's motive was murder from the get-go.

I think it is likely the perp was from the va beach/norfolk area. Big population center.
 

Hockeyfan158

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Curious_in_NC

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I’m wondering if police ever looked at Earnest Ray Cherry a man who got a life sentence for this crime in 1992 MAN CHANGES MIND, PLEADS GUILTY TO RAPE, KIDNAPPING

And also possibly this woman who was on Unsolved Mysteries in 1991. Who Shot This North Carolina Woman? - Unsolved Mysteries

I can’t find Cherry mugshot anywhere but i do wonder if police ever questioned him.
Good suggestion. Here's a link to his current status. Click on the image to see a mugshot. It's kind of hard to directly compare the side view artist drawing versus his frontal view photo but I'm inclined to think it wasn't him.

NC DPS Offender Public Information
 
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