Local News

Police Search for Suspect Who Shot, Killed Burlington Couple

Posted July 27, 1999

— A vigil was held at Duke University Medical Center Wednesday night for an elderly man and woman who were the victims of a terrible crime.

Someone burst into their Burlington home killing Archie James, 77, and wife Cleona James, 76, who died Thursday in the hospital. Now, authorities say whoever is responsible for the deadly home invasion could be anywhere.

"I love this neighborhood and I'll never move out of this house," says Della Shaffer, who moved to Burlington to retire in a quiet neighborhood. But in broad daylight Tuesday, the peace was shattered.

"I was just coming down Durham Street, and I just heard one shot, and I made a beeline to my driveway," Shaffer said. "Then, all hell broke loose."

Burlington detectives say the Jameses were both shot in the head in their Wicker Street home. Later, their son found them in a back bedroom.

Two witnesses say they saw a man running from near the house, and both witnesses gave similar descriptions.

"We've been hourly expanding our search," says Maj. Randy Jones, who says the man is a possible suspect and could be hiding anywhere.

"We have been in contact, I understand, with some Orange County authorities, Caswell County, Alamance County authorities -- the sheriff's department here," Jones said. "We are working with the North Carolina State Bureau of Investigation because of the magnitude of this offense."

Until the killer or killers are caught, Shaffer says she will not be resting easy at night.

"I really think it's horrible," she said. "There is no excuse for it in this world. All you can do is pray for them."

Police say the motivation could have been robbery, but they do not have any evidence that anything was stolen from the house.


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