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Authorities crack 22-year-old Person County homicide

Posted February 10, 2009
Updated March 9, 2009

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— Person County authorities on Monday arrested a Virginia man in connection with a 1987 slaying.

Deputies were assisting in the investigation of a Halifax, Va., homicide case when they found links between the primary suspect there and an unsolved Person County slaying, authorities said.

"I think it's pretty incredible," Person County Sheriff Dewey Jones said.

Francisco Maldonado, Person County cold case victim Virginia homicide leads to arrest in Person County cold case

Michael Hammock, 43, was arrested in Granville County on Monday and charged with murder in the 1987 death of Francisco Maldonado. He was being held without bond in the Person County Jail.

Maldonado was a native of Mexico who had taken on additional work at a farm off Guess Road in southern Person County to send money home to his family. He was found dead after a fire in his home, but deputies could never prove the case was a homicide, so it was treated solely as a fire investigation.

"They felt strongly that something had occurred, but they just didn't have enough information to charge (anyone with murder)," Jones said.

When Virginia investigators started looking at Hammock as a suspect in a Halifax homicide, they came to Person County for information. Witnesses told investigators about a slaying in the late 1980s that involved a fire, and Jones said he remembered working as a volunteer firefighter on the fire that killed Maldonado.

After he provided investigators with the location of the fire, evidence linking Hammock to Maldonado's death, such as injuries Maldonado suffered, began matching up, he said

"All the pieces of the puzzle started to fall together very quickly," he said.

Hammock also served less than five years of a 12-year sentence on a second-degree murder conviction in the September 1988 death of Thomas Jackson in Roxboro.

Jackson's niece, Linda Jackson Matthews, said the arrest elicited mixed emotions for her family. She said they were grateful the Person County Sheriff's Office continued to pursue a case against Hammock but wished he had been arrested in 1987.

"Who knows what the future would have brought had he gotten what he deserved the first time," Matthews said. "We hope there will be some quick resolution to this case, so he can’t hurt anyone else."

Hammock hasn't been charged in the Virginia case, authorities said.

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  • cjimmyray414 Feb 11, 2009

    plus we don't have no justice system any more ,the scums are treated better than the victims.

  • cjimmyray414 Feb 11, 2009

    you thought you would never be caught,but onthing for sure you can't run from GOD because HE see every thing, nopw put your self in his placewould you want your people to go through what the man's family lives with every day. I know i lived with it every day, because some scums tooked the life of MY SON. BUt in the end OUR SAVIOR has the final say so OVER ALL.

  • Dr. Dataclerk Feb 11, 2009

    You can run but for so long and eventually you will be caught. Good work officers.

  • LocalYokel Feb 10, 2009

    good job investigators!

  • DeathRow-IFeelYourPain-NOT Feb 10, 2009

    I'm sure this guy, and his significant other, just had their Valentines Day ruined. I'm also sure he probably thought this murder would never come back to haunt him.

  • Morbidly Obtuse Feb 10, 2009

    "did the word county in the headline give it away?"

    no...my eyes kept putting a comma behind person...

  • 8675309-9 Feb 10, 2009

    "person is the name of a county... "

    did the word county in the headline give it away?

  • Eduardo1 Feb 10, 2009

    Well, it appears that all posters feel that 4 years is fine for a 2nd degree murder (snic-snic) Well, if we give him 4 each for the nest 2 murders and he is pn good behavior, hye may serve only 80% = 6 years. goood, he will still be young enough to murder again. What a justice system. America,is good place, Si!

  • 007KnightRider Feb 10, 2009

    Ol Forrester - "This guy served 4 years for second degree murder. Now he's the primary suspect in two other homicides. Well done justice system ! ! !"

    I totally agree!

  • Morbidly Obtuse Feb 10, 2009

    person is the name of a county... the story makes more sense now that i figured that piece out... the truth always comes out in the end... you cant run and hide forever

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