Local News

Man Charged with Second Raleigh Murder, Suspect in Two Other 1996 Slayings

Posted March 18, 1997 12:00 a.m. EST

— Raleigh police are turning a series of unsolved 1996 killings into a series of charges against a 35-year-old homeless man.

Police said Tuesday that John Williams Jr. had been charged with the Jan. 7, 1996 slaying of Patricia Ashe whose body was found behind 1501 S. Blount St.

Ashe was the first of six black women, all poor and with ties to local drug trade, who were killed and found in or near downtown Raleigh. Police arrested Williams Feb. 4 on a charge of attempted rape. Police said they caught Williams that night as he was attacking a woman in a parking lot. According to an arrest warrant, Williams assaulted the woman with a box cutter.

Williams was then charged with the slaying of Deborah Jean Elliott, 35. Her body was found Dec. 26, 1996, six blocks from where Williams was arrested.

"We have worked closely with the CCBI, the SBI, the District Attorney's Office and the FBI in the investigation of these rape and homicide cases," Raleigh Police Chief M.W. Brown said in a press release. "...We have conducted over 6,000 interviews regarding these unsolved homicides and rapes of black females in Raleigh."

According to police, evidence has been found that links Williams with the series of slayings. He is a suspect in at least two of the three remaining homicides.

A second man, Leman Evans, 60, of 212 Hill St., Raleigh, was arrested in January and charged with the Jan. 17, 1996, death of Dewanna Burt. She was shot in the head. Her body was found in a parking lot on Poole Road.

In addition to the newest murder charge, police also have charged Williams with two additional rapes, two attempted rapes, three counts of assault with a deadly weapon with intent to kill, inflicting serious injury, one count of assault with a deadly weapon with intent to kill and one count of first-degree sex offense. These charges results from crimes that occurred between October 1995 and November 1996.