Search warrant: Knightdale woman found dead, covered in US flag
Posted October 16, 2013
Knightdale, N.C. — A Knightdale woman who was found dead in her apartment Saturday morning was lying face up, covered in blood with a U.S. flag draped over her, according to a search warrant released Wednesday.
Police found Seanne Winters Barnette, 55, dead at her home on Sappony Drive at Alta Legacy Oaks apartments. Her brother, John Wesley Winters Jr., 70, has been named a suspect in her murder.
He was arrested in Prince William County, Va. – about 250 miles from Knightdale – on Thursday after state troopers found him along the side of Interstate 95 in a 2008 PT Cruiser belonging to his sister. He reportedly had injuries and was in a "confused mental state," according to the search warrant.
Winters faces a charge for the theft of Barnette's car, but he has not been charged in her death. Police found her body after family members requested a well-being check.
Authorities haven't said how Barnette died or how long she might have been dead, but neighbors told police they hadn't seen her for about a week, according to the search warrant.
When officers arrived at the home, they saw flies coming in and out of the apartment through an open window and later found Barnette's body.
Police took about 24 items from the home, according to the search warrant, including a fishing line spool and a black cord. They also took 10 items from the PT Cruiser, including a folding knife.
Both Barnette and Winters are children of Raleigh's first black City Council member, John Winters Sr., who was elected in 1961.
Barnette was a special-needs teacher for seven years at Holt Elementary School in Durham but stopped teaching full-time in 2011 to care for her ailing mother, who died in September of that year.
Winters has been homeless for years, and authorities and close family friends said Barnette took him in after she saw her brother on WRAL News being interviewed at Shepherd's Table Soup Kitchen in downtown Raleigh.
The organization's executive director, Tamara Gregory, said Winters was a regular who dined there nearly every day for the past two years.
A man of few words, she said, he was always very complimentary and thankful.
"He just has always been so kind, and so mild-mannered is how he's always seemed the past couple of years," she said. "I've never dreamt someone like him would have a violent bone in his body."