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Double Murder Linked to Painter

A cold case almost three decades old was traced to a painter.

26 June, 2024

The long and winding saga of the double murder of a lesbian couple concluded last week with the revelation that the murderer was a man who, unfortunately, worked as a house painter.

The gruesome story starts in 1996 at a campsite with the discovery of two bodies. They were the deceased remains of Julianne Williams, 24, and her partner Laura Winans, 26. The two women were bound and gagged and their throats had been slashed.

They had gone hiking in the Shenandoah National Park near Washington, D.C. After nine days without hearing from them, their families contacted the police and asked them to do a wellness check.

Originally, authorities pinned the murder on a man named Darrell David Rice, a computer programmer from Maryland. Previously, Rice had pleaded guilty to attempting to kidnap a female bicyclist in the same area.

This time, authorities alleged, Rice had targeted his victims because of their sexual orientation.

The FBI reviewed the case in 2021, when DNA evidence was much more precise, and discovered that the sample instead implicated a man named Walter Leo Jackson.

Jackson was a convicted rapist who died in an Ohio prison in 2018 at the age of 70. Originally from Cleveland, Jackson frequented the Shenandoah National Park.

Unfortunately, Jackson also worked as a house painter, and that’s one of the only ways media outlets are identifying him. What a disgrace to the trade he is.

U.S. Attorney Christopher Kavanaugh said they no longer consider the murder to be an anti-LGBT hate crime.

“Make no mistake, this crime was brutal, the crime was definitely hateful, nevertheless we do not have any evidence” suggesting that the women were targeted for being gay, Kavanaugh said in a statement released last week.


true crime


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