Police, the news media and nearby residents were all in agreement on one issue — a serial killer was on the loose. The worst part about it: He was concentrating on one particular street in West Palm Beach, Florida.
The horror began when elderly twin sisters were murdered in their suburban home on Ware Drive. The women had lived together for more than 20 years. They were stabbed to death. The daughter of one of them discovered the bodies when she stopped by their place for a visit.
Their names were Claire Brunt and Bernice Flegel, both 66-year-old widows. The killer stole their car and abandoned it behind an apartment building about five miles from their house.
Normally quiet area
Neighbors of the victims said their neighborhood is normally quiet, and most residents were shocked to hear of the killings.
The area was shaken again 10 weeks later when another double murder was committed on the same street, a short walk from the site of the first murder scene. This time it was two men who were slain, William McIntosh, 49, and Norris Jones, 39. A co-worker of one of them found the bodies. A car belonging to one of the victims was found abandoned a few miles away.
Traumatized neighbors got a measure of relief when the next-door neighbor of the slain sisters, Carlton Francis, 22, was arrested thanks to a tip phoned in to police. He was convicted of the murders in 1998 and sentenced to death. That sentence was eventually overturned in favor of life in prison.
Not paying the rent
In the second double murder, an acquaintance of the two victims called detectives to make a confession. Morris T. Young, 31, was taken in as a roommate of the men but was later asked to leave for financial reasons. Young was not paying rent.
Instead of packing up and moving out, Young, a man with a history of drug arrests, picked up a piece of concrete outside the home, walked back in and bashed in Jones’ head. He then delivered the fatal blow to Jones with a table lamp.
Next, Young grabbed a steam iron and hit McIntosh, the homeowner, over the head with it at least 10 times until he died. In the middle of the attack, Young paused to draw the living room curtains.
Young told police he then took the men’s wallets, two television sets and two stereo speakers, loaded them into McIntosh’s car, sold the items and abandoned the vehicle. He said he confessed because his fingerprints were all over the house and it was just a matter of time before he would be caught. Young agreed to a sentence of life in prison.
Calm was restored to Ware Drive.