Local News

Suspect in 24-year-old double homicide brought back to Fayetteville

Posted November 9, 2009 9:24 a.m. EST
Updated November 9, 2009 6:31 p.m. EST

— A man suspected of killing his brother and sister-in-law 24 years ago was extradited Monday from Georgia to Cumberland County.

Sean Patrick McDuffy, 48, faces two counts of first-degree murder in the deaths of Kelly McDuffy, 24, and Bobbie Michelle McDuffy, 20, who were found dead Feb. 21, 1985, in their home at 437 Squirrel St. in the Bonnie Doone community.

Both had suffered sharp force trauma to their upper bodies, authorities said. News accounts at the time reported a butcher knife was found in Kelly McDuffy's side.

Sean McDuffy, who lived with his brother and sister-in-law at the time of their deaths, was the prime suspect early on. A judge ruled there was no probable cause for his arrest in 1986, however, and he was released.

The case remained closed until Bobbie McDuffy's dying father asked investigators to reopen it.

Starting in September 2007, detectives sifted through boxes of evidence, investigative notes and crime scene photos and again narrowed their focus to Sean McDuffy.

By then, he had moved to the Midwest, and detectives tracked him through Missouri, Ohio, Arizona and Georgia until they had enough evidence to charge him. A grand jury indicted him in the deaths in March.

"We have the evidence to charge him with double murder," Cumberland County Sheriff Earl "Moose" Butler said, declining to discuss the evidence.

Butler suggested a love triangle might have been the motive for the slayings.

Sean McDuffy has been imprisoned in Georgia for the last 13 years for trying to decapitate his girlfriend in an argument. Georgia Department of Correction records show that he was given a 15-year sentence in 1996 for charges that also included cruelty to children.

Cumberland County investigators traveled to Georgia to pick him up after his parole and return him to Fayetteville.

"It proves the point that, you know, if you commit the crime, at some point in your life, you may do the time if you live long enough," Butler said.