Local News

Cold case reopened into trucker's death

Posted August 23, 2007
Updated November 20, 2016

— It was a shot heard across the country in 1983.

George Capps, 34, was shot in the throat with a high-powered rifle as he drove his tractor-trailer into Newton Grove. It was a difficult case from the beginning, according to the sheriff back then.

Today, the case remains unsolved.

“I’ve prayed for justice for 24 years, and I still do. That's the only thing that's kept me going,” said Esmond Capps Elliott, Capps’ widow in a 2007 interview. “When I look at my life, it’s like a puzzle laying on a table with a big gaping hole in the middle.”

Sgt. Tracey Brogden with the Newton Grove Police Department reopened the cold case this week. There are no new leads, but authorities and the family said they believe someone in the area knows what happened.

“I will follow it and chase it as long as I got something to follow,” Brogden said.

The murder made national headlines, because it happened during a violent Independent Truckers Association strike. Other working drivers where threatened and even shot at on the highway.

“The theory is, during that time it was related,” Brogden said.

Capps' family said they are grateful investigators are back on the case.

“How could you murder someone in cold blood that's never done anything to you and go on living? How does someone live with something like that?” Capps Elliott said. “It does give me some hope. I know he's not being forgotten.”

The Highway Patrol began escorting truckers during the strike shortly after Capps was murdered.

If you have any information about this case, call the toll free number at 1-866-439-2683.


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  • Sound Tech Aug 24, 2007

    Seankelly - you are right but back in the late 70's and early 80's drivers did refer to it as the Independent drivers union.

  • diggit733 Aug 24, 2007

    So what years were this strike? Was it all over the country?
    My Dad drove trucks and was run off the road and killed in Aug of 1980..no one was held responsible.

  • seankelly15 Aug 24, 2007

    Sound Tech - "This strike was called by the Independent Truckers Union which in reality is more of an organization than a union." Gee, according to the article, it is an 'Association' not a "union" or an "organization". This group is not part of the AFL/CIO. 'Independent Truckers' makes it clear that they wanted no part of the Teamsters - indeed it is laughable that they did not want to be recognized as a union but then strike in an attempt inforce collective bargaining. What happened to 'independent'?

  • ScreenNameNotInUse Aug 24, 2007

    I remember all this back in 83. My dad worked as an iventory manager for a local name brand casr dealership and took ten of his salesmen to Greensboro to cross picket lines and drive back ten cars back to Raleigh. It was one of the most anxious days of our lives because we were certain he or one of the aalesmen would get shot. It never happened though and they managed to get the cars to Raleigh without incident. It was indeed strange times though because stuff like that did only happen up North - never here.

  • Mr. French Aug 24, 2007

    I fear a lot of the focus that the authorities are putting on all of these decades-old cold cases is just an attempt to draw our attention away from their inability to solve more recent crimes.

  • Sound Tech Aug 24, 2007

    I was a trucker back when this happened. This strike was called by the Independent Truckers Union which in reality is more of an organization than a union. The truckers union actually did not recognize this strike and their employees kept on working. Most of the violence that came from this strike was not from trucking folks it came from idiots that just thought it was open season on any truck driver. Most of the people who were arrested for violence against truckers were not even in the industry. I remeber drivers being shot at along I-95 and they were both union, non-union, independents and so forth. This was a terible thing in the eighties and it accomplished nothing. Also there was a lot of talk from drivers that lived around Newton Grove at the time that said this incident really didn't have anything to do with the strike anyway. Don't know how they knew that but that was the talk.

  • bosoxbaby Aug 24, 2007

    "How in the world can we, at this point, come up with extra information about Mr. Capps' death? If people with information about it didn't come forward then, does it seem likely that they will now?"

    Maybe someone has developed a conscience over time. Maybe someone saw something back then & they were too scared to say anything to anyone & aren't now. Maybe by putting Mr. Capps face back out there & running the story they can get someone to come forward with something.....anything to help bring closure to this family. This was a very scary time for truckers & their families. I was only 7 at the time but I remember crying every time my dad left out on a trip because I was scared someone would hurt or kill him just because he was trying to keep food on the table for three kids he raised pretty much on his own.

  • Adelinthe Aug 24, 2007

    “When I look at my life, it’s like a puzzle laying on a table with a big gaping hole in the middle.”


    Praying for a resolution to this case and justice for the loved ones of Mr. Capps.

    God bless.

    Rev. RB

  • Adelinthe Aug 24, 2007

    Weasleyes – Please extend my sympathy to the family and loved ones of Cynthia Moreland.

    I sat as Foreman on the Grand Jury that indicted the man now charged with her murder. The state’s case is extremely strong in this charge.

    We also indicted for kidnapping and automobile theft, but because a good defense attorney could possibly plant doubt in the minds of the jurors for those charges thereby weakening all of the charges, those charges were put aside for the murder charge which has the strongest case.

    This man is now in jail awaiting trial – a trial that will more than likely take several days. It takes time to clear the docket for that many days, and I believe I heard the trial will go in early 2008.

    In the meantime, the DA’s office is withholding all further news reports to avoid jeopardizing the case or any of its future jurors. The Grand Jury was clear in its decision – we want justice for Cynthia Moreland for the horrors she suffered before her death.

    God bless you

  • weasleyes Aug 24, 2007

    I apologize. The date was 8/22/06, not 07. Still, I cannot understand why the media has been absolutely silent about the status of this killer, when the case was "top story" for a week.
    A Progress employee told me that the trial is scheduled for November. Why so long to bring this scumbag to justice?