Linwood Forte North Carolina Serial Killer

Linwood Forte is a serial killer who was sentenced to death by the State of North Carolina for a number of murders

According to court documents Linwood Forte would sexually assault a number of elderly women as well as murder at least three elderly victims. He would finally be charged with the murders of 74-year-old Hattie Bonner, 78-year-old retired Southern Bell executive Al Bowen and 76-year-old wife, Thelma.

Linwood Forte would be arrested, convicted and sentenced to death

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Where Is Linwood Forte Now

Linwood Forte is incarcerated at Central Prison

Linwood Forte Case

As to the first, in the early morning of 26 May 1990, seventy-year-old Eliza Jones was found in her bed, bruised, scratched, and struggling to breathe.   She was suffering from oxygen deprivation as a result of strangulation and later recalled being choked and fondled by a man who had awakened her.   Trauma to both her vagina and rectum indicated that she had been sexually assaulted after losing consciousness during the attack.   Sperm was detected in vaginal and rectal smears and on the fitted sheet on Ms. Jones’ bed.   No perpetrator was identified at the time, so the evidence containing the sperm was placed in frozen storage at the State Bureau of Investigation (SBI) for possible future use.

As to the second offense, on the morning of 14 July 1990, police found the body of seventy-nine-year-old Hattie Bonner in her bed.   She had died as a result of being both manually strangled and suffocated with a pillow.   Vaginal swabs revealed the presence of sperm, and hairs and fibers were collected from the body.   As in the Jones case, the evidence was retained by the SBI because investigators did not have a suspect.

Finally, on 6 October 1990, the Goldsboro Fire Department responded to the home of seventy-eight-year-old Alvin Bowen and seventy-five-year-old Thelma Bowen.   The house and an automobile in an adjoining carport were burning.   Firefighters discovered Mr. Bowen’s body on a bed and Mrs. Bowen’s naked body lying face down on the floor nearby.   Although both bodies were burned, an autopsy indicated that each had been killed before the fire started.   Mr. Bowen died from stab wounds to his neck and chest, while Mrs. Bowen died from strangulation.   Evidence suggested that Mrs. Bowen had been raped, and sperm was present in a vaginal smear.   Firefighters discovered a trail of accelerant leading from the Bowens’ bedroom through the house and out to the burning vehicle, where a gasoline can was found on the front seat.   Again, the evidence was preserved in the absence of a suspect.

Analysis of the DNA samples obtained in each of these incidents indicated that one person was responsible for all three attacks.   During the 1990s, defendant (Linwood Forte) was incarcerated on other unrelated charges and his DNA was recorded in the SBI database.   In 2001, after defendant had been released, his DNA was matched with the DNA recovered from the unsolved cases.

On 30 April 2001, defendant (Linwood Forte) was working at a poultry processing plant.   Several SBI agents and Goldsboro police officers approached defendant at work and asked if he would accompany them to the police station for an interview.   Defendant was told that he was not under arrest and could return to work after the interview was completed.   When defendant agreed, the officers gave him a ride to the police department.   Defendant was not advised of his Miranda rights.

Once at the police station, the officers informed defendant (Linwood Forte) that his DNA had been matched to the evidence in some unsolved cases and asked him to explain his involvement in the crimes.   Defendant told police that during the late 1980s through 1990 he used crack cocaine heavily.   He recalled going to a house he thought was his own, kicking in the door, and having “sex with the woman inside.”   Defendant also stated that one night in 1990, he went into a residence near a school in Goldsboro where he drank beer and smoked cigarettes.   He said he did not recall having sexual intercourse with anyone or any confrontation inside the house, but he could not remember what happened because he was high on crack and had blacked out while inside the house.   He added that he may have dropped a lit match on his way out, and he remembered noticing the following day that the house had burned.

Defendant then agreed to ride with several of the investigators and point out the locations he had just discussed.   Defendant first directed them to Eliza Jones’ former address.   Once there, defendant said that this was the place where “the woman was not killed.”   He next took them to a vacant lot where the Bowens’ home had stood before it burned and told the officers that this was where he drank beer and smoked cigarettes in the house.   Finally, defendant led the officers to another vacant lot where Hattie Bonner’s home had been.   He explained that at this location, he entered the residence, had sexual intercourse with the lady inside, and choked her until she became unconscious.   He recalled seeing yellow crime scene tape at the residence the next day.

The police returned with defendant to the police station, where defendant agreed to provide blood and hair samples.   For the first time, defendant was advised of his Miranda rights.   One of the officers who was giving the Miranda warnings asked defendant if he wanted to answer any more questions at that time.   When defendant answered “no,” the officer asked defendant what he meant.   Defendant responded that he was tired and would answer more questions after he had a chance to sleep.

While defendant slept for several hours at the police station, one of the officers typed a statement based on the information defendant had already provided.   When defendant awoke, he said he “felt like talking some more.”   The investigators re-advised defendant of his rights, and defendant affirmed his willingness to continue.   He reviewed the typed statement and signed it.   Defendant then answered several additional questions asked by the officers, indicating that he knew right from wrong and that he had not been under duress at the time of the crimes, although he added that he had not been in “the right frame of mind” and “was under the influence of drugs.”   The blood drawn from defendant on 30 April 2001 was analyzed by the SBI laboratory and found to match the DNA from the three 1990 crime scenes.

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